“We have lost not just our monarch but the matriarch of our nation, the figure who more than any other brought our country together, kept us in touch with our better nature, personified everything which makes us proud to be British.
The Queen has been part of my life for all of my life. From the moment I waved my little flag as I watched her, as a child, be driven through the streets of Durham, to the honour of being her Prime Minister, to my last meeting with her and then lunching with her at Windsor Castle for the Garter ceremony just a few months ago, she has been an enduring presence of strength and stability. At that lunch, we sat next to each other and she was on sparkling form as we talked – warm, gracious, humorous and spirited.
She was not only respected but loved. Respected because of the qualities of duty, decency, integrity and fidelity which she embodied. And loved because of the love and affection she bestowed on us. And far beyond our shores for countless people in lands of every continent, in cities, towns and even remote villages, Queen Elizabeth was known and held in the highest regard. When people would talk about the Queen, they rarely added the name Elizabeth. They didn’t need to. She was never a Queen. But The Queen, faithful to her values, her nation, the Commonwealth and to God.
We will mourn her. We will miss her. But our overwhelming sentiment will be of gratitude, profound, heartfelt and sincere thanks for what she did, what she stood for, for the life she lived and for what she gave us, her grateful subjects. Her reign was indeed glorious. And it was our great good fortune to have had her reign over us.
Together with my wife Cherie, I send my deepest condolences to King Charles III and all the Royal Family.”