Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - Tributes (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:00 pm on 9 September 2022.

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Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green 2:00, 9 September 2022

I rise to express sincere condolences to the Royal Family at this time of loss and grieving. As many noble Lords have said, it is true that the whole UK is grieving in a similar way.

The Queen represented us in all sorts of ways for her whole life and for 70 years of public service, and she was absolutely tireless. I first met her when she opened City Hall in 2002. We were a new Assembly, we had a mayor and it was all very exciting to be in a new building. It was obvious that she took it very seriously. She went along the line-up at the end, probably 80 or 90 people, as if she was really enjoying it. Prince Philip took the opportunity of telling me what was wrong with the Greens. He told me quite forcefully, and I took it to heart; perhaps he was right.

I met her on other occasions, and the same attitude was there: absolute dedication to and concentration on what she was doing at the time. It was not like someone doing a job or performing their duty but someone who seemed interested and curious in what was happening.

I had a tiny taste—a glimmer—of what it was like to do such public service when I was deputy mayor under Ken Livingstone. He gave me lots of jobs he did not want to do—to meet people, go to meetings and make speeches he did not want to make. It was the first time ever that I was not representing myself or my political party. Sometimes I had to do things that were at odds with my nature: being very polite, listening to boring speeches and generally appearing to be interested and polite the whole time. I found that putting on a fascinated face, which is what Her Majesty did for 70 years, was incredibly difficult. I did that for 13 months; she did it for 70 years. It left me feeling what an extraordinary woman and an amazing monarch she was.