Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - Tributes (Continued)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 9 September 2022.

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Photo of Lord Hacking Lord Hacking Labour 3:00, 9 September 2022

My Lords, I spoke in this House on 26 May in the humble Address to Her Majesty the Queen on her Platinum Jubilee. I said that I could think of her only as a young Queen, because my early memories of Her Majesty were of when she was very young, having ascended the Throne aged 25. These memories are indelible for me.

Coming to this House today, I was thinking of my very first memory of Her Majesty. I am quite sure that it is of her dedication address, as it is now called, broadcast from Cape Town on 21 April 1947. This has been cited by many before and since Her Majesty’s death, and was also cited in this debate by the Lord Privy Seal. I was only nine, and was not a listener to broadcasts or the radio, but my parents thought I ought to listen to this broadcast, which I did.

I also remember clearly the circumstances of Her Majesty giving this broadcast from Cape Town. It was the first overseas visit by the Royal Family following the war and it was really made in honour of Field Marshal Smuts for his great help to our nation during World War II—he spent quite a lot of time here and almost became a member of the War Cabinet. I remember that, with no royal yacht available, the Royal Family travelled to Cape Town in the one remaining battleship after World War II, HMS “Vanguard”. I suppose it would have been a voyage of about three or four days down to South Africa.

I am not going to add to the tributes that have already nobly been made. I endorse every tribute that I have heard, and I am sure that I will continue to endorse the further tributes that will be given in this debate. I would therefore like to turn to the new King, King Charles III, and my first memory of him.

I have a very clear memory of when I was honoured to receive an invitation to Windsor Castle in about 1960 to attend an informal Christmas party for children and young persons. The King was only 12; I was a little older, at 22. I remember that the then Prince Charles was very shy. He stood by the Christmas tree during most of the party, just shyly observing what was happening. His Majesty the King is no longer shy, but he remains a very modest man. I have no doubt that he will be a most worthy successor to Her late Majesty the Queen.

I now turn in my short intervention to quote from the dedication address:

“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”

That is exactly what Her Majesty has done during the 70 years of her reign.