Reverend the Hon. FRED NILE [10.15 p.m.]: I offer a brief tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrates the Golden Jubilee of her reign from 1952 to 2002. In the Queen's Accession Speech she stated:
I shall always work, as my father did throughout his reign, to uphold constitutional government and to advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples, spread as they are all the world over.
As honourable members know, the Queen's reign began unexpectedly on an ordinary Wednesday in 1952. The Queen's father, King George VI, died suddenly at Sandringham on 6 February after several years of ill health. News of his death reached the 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth on the afternoon of 6 February in Kenya, just as she and Prince Philip had begun a Commonwealth tour. Having left Britain as a Princess, she was to return as Queen.
Following the funeral of King George VI and the 16-week period of Court mourning, there was an opportunity for national celebration during the following year with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953. From the earliest days the Queen took to her new role with energetic commitment, dedication and devotion as she fulfilled, and continues to fulfil, her coronation oath, with God's enabling and strength. On 4 June 2002 the Queen gave a speech at Guildhall before the Lord Mayor, the Prime Minister and other officials. I will read some extracts of her speech:
I am more than conscious at the moment of the importance of football. Although this weekend comes about half way through my Jubilee year, as far as we are concerned, it bears no relation to a rest at 'half-time'. However, I am very glad that the fiftieth anniversary of my accession is giving so many people all over this country and in the Commonwealth an excuse to celebrate and enjoy themselves.
It has been a pretty remarkable fifty years by any standards. There have been ups and downs, but anyone who can remember what things were like after those six long years of war, appreciates what immense changes have been achieved since then. Not everyone has been able to benefit from the growth of welfare and prosperity but it has not been for lack of political will. I think we can look back with measured pride on the history of the last fifty years.
Since the spring of this year I have travelled extensively in this country and in the Commonwealth. It has been wonderful to experience the many special events which have brought together volunteers of all ages and organisations of all kinds.
At every stage along the way, Prince Philip and I have been overwhelmed by the crowds waiting for us and deeply moved by the warmth of their welcome. We are both much looking forward to our visits to Wales next week, then on to the other regions of England and in the autumn to Canada."
Her Majesty went on to state:
I take this opportunity to mention the strength I draw from my own family. The Duke of Edinburgh has made an invaluable contribution to my life over these past fifty years, as he has to so many charities and organisations with which he has been involved.
Her Majesty concluded her speech with the following words:
Your hospitality at this event, my Lord Mayor, is typical of the spirit of this Jubilee and the kindness shown to me by so many people over the years. I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you—here in Guildhall, those of you waiting in the Mall and the streets of London, and all those up and down this country and throughout the Commonwealth, who may be watching this on television. Thank you all for your enthusiasm to mark and celebrate these past fifty years."
I will conclude my tribute by referring to what was said by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend George L. Carey, who spoke at the special Thanksgiving service held at St Paul's Cathedral to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee. During the archbishop's sermon he referred to the faithfulness of Queen Elizabeth and her Christian service. He invoked the memory of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret and said:
Of course, an abiding commitment to faithful service does not make life simple or easy. Indeed, there comes with it a recognition that none of us is immune from suffering and pain, whatever our role or place in the world. Even now, your Jubilee is tinged with sadness, in the absence of the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, whom we remember today with affection and gratitude.
The Archbishop spoke of the Queen's public testimony of her faith. He said:
And from your elevated and noble position how greatly you have served! Yours was a vocation which you did not seek; it was a task to which you were anointed. It came to you at an age when few people are ready to assume burdens of responsibility, even far lighter ones. It was, as you have publicly acknowledged, required of you, not just by your people but by God. And your faith has helped to sustain you. You made that clear in your Millennium Christmas message, telling us directly, "The teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework in which I try to live my life."
I believe that we can all give thanks to God for the example of Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee.