Motion of Condolence

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:06 pm on 13th February 2002.

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Photo of David McLetchie David McLetchie Conservative 12:06 pm, 13th February 2002

I associate the Scottish Conservative members of the Parliament, and the Scottish Conservative party as a whole, with the motion of condolence following the death of Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon.

It is fitting that the motion should be lodged in the first Scottish Parliament for almost 300 years, because—as the First Minister and Mr Swinney noted—Princess Margaret's birth at Glamis was the first royal birth in Scotland since the 17th century.

Throughout her life Princess Margaret sustained and nurtured her links with Scotland. Those of us who live in the city of Edinburgh think of her association with the Princess Margaret Rose orthopaedic hospital. Tribute has also been paid to her for her support for the arts and patronage of Scottish Ballet.

It is particularly poignant that Princess Margaret's death should fall in the year of the Queen's golden jubilee and in the very week that marked the 50th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne. This must be a particularly difficult week for the Queen Mother, as pride in the accomplishments of her elder daughter is mixed with the sadness of the recollection of the loss of a husband—a sense of loss now heightened by the death of her younger daughter. As Mr Swinney pointed out, the death of a child is a distressing affront to the natural cycle of life, irrespective of the age of the parent.

Today we acknowledge and pay tribute to Princess Margaret for the service that she rendered our country and the unswerving support that she has given to Her Majesty throughout her reign, both publicly and privately, as a member of the royal family. Like the First Minister and Mr Swinney, we recognise not only her patronage of and commitment to the arts, but her important contribution to the work of children's charities in Scotland and in Britain.

She combined that work and service with being a devoted mother. The tributes paid to her show the enormous affection and regard in which she was held, both within the royal family and in the wider world. As we meet this afternoon, our sympathies are with her son, David, Lord Linley, with her daughter Lady Chatto, with the Queen, with the Queen Mother and with all other members of the royal family.