Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Margaret Thatcher

HC S: [Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother]

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: House of Commons
Source: Hansard HC [176/589-90]
Editorial comments: 0934-0939.
Importance ranking: Minor
Word count: 602
[column 589]

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother

9.34 am

The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

I beg to move,

That an humble Address be presented to Queen Elizabeth IIHer Majesty, to assure Her Majesty that this House profoundly shares the great joy of the nation on the occasion of the forthcoming ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother is one of those precious people who were born in the reign of Queen Victoria and who are still enriching the life of our nation. In inviting this House to congratulate Her Majesty, we think also of all those who have attained so notable an age and have lived through so much history and have contributed to that history, but few can rival Her Majesty in the responsibilities that she has carried or in the services which she has rendered, or in the joy that she continues to bring.

Those born in 1900 suffered the agonies of the great war of 1914–18. She shares with others, then in their teens, the experience of losing close relatives. She herself nursed and administered to the wounded, seeing her Scottish home turned into an emergency hospital while she was a girl. These things helped to form that compassion which has been a mark of her service to the nation. No mere formality for her to be patron of the Red Cross, or to do all that she could for nurses in our hospitals.

In 1936 she was called to serve our people as the Queen of King George VI and in doing so became the first person of English and Scottish parentage to be the consort of our sovereign. Soon the nation found itself again in a great war which imposed exceptional burdens upon the King. These he faced with a strong sense of duty and determination. Throughout the war and the years of hardship immediately after he was sustained and encouraged by his Queen. Nothing endeared them more to their people than their decision to share the hazards faced by their subjects by remaining at the centre of the bomb-scarred capital during the blitz. The inspiration that she and the King provided during that struggle for freedom and democracy sealed for ever the place that she holds in our hearts.

Since the death of the King and since becoming Queen Mother she has not in any way diminished her service to public life. On the contrary, her circle of friendship is ever widening. She is an energetic traveller, especially to the countries of the Commonwealth, which is so important to her and whose people's affection for her matches our own.

The Queen Mother has delighted in being colonel-in-chief of historic regiments such as the Black Watch and the Queen's Own Hussars and in being the leader of the Women's Royal Naval Service. [column 590]

All of us who were privileged to witness the birthday tribute to Her Majesty last month—a unique occasion—saw the great depth of affection and loyalty that flowed out to her from people of all walks of life and from all parts of the country. Each, as they marched past in parade, showed in their faces their happiness at being able to pay tribute to the Queen who continues to give so much of her time and personal interest to the hundreds of organisations which serve the community and which form the strong threads in the tapestry of our national life. It was a joyous and fitting tribute to Her Majesty.

The warmth of her affection for the nation is mirrored in the affections of the nation for her. She has come to symbolise the continuity of the royal family across four generations. The Queen's realms and Commonwealth owe her a debt that can never be repaid. May we continue to be blessed with her gracious presence for many years to come.