• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Henley MP John Howell pays tribute to the Queen


Sep 18, 2022

On Monday, the country will come together to issue a final goodbye to the Queen as her funeral takes place at Westminster Abbey.

With the death of the monarch, the country has been ushered into a new era under Charles III.

To mark this momentous part of our history, the Oxford Mail asked each of our county’s MPs to write an opinion piece on the events of recent weeks.

All of these opinion pieces can be read on our website and in the print edition of the Oxford Mail.

Oxford Mail: GOVGOV

By John Howell, MP for Henley

The last few days have been incredible. The death of the Queen was a loss that is unbearable for many in the country. Her example of service and selflessness are to be admired and followed in all we do. So too, was her deep humanity. I spoke in the debate in Parliament to pay respects to her late Majesty. I pointed out that my first experience of one of the Queen’s overseas trips had been to Russia. She went with Britannia to St Petersburg and the on to Moscow. I had been invited to provide economic advice to the Russians during the Royal visit. The press made much of the difficulties of choosing the right jewels to wear. The big issue was whether any had belonged to a Russian duchess. The Queen was not really interested. There was so much other business to concentrate on not least staying one up on Boris Yeltsin who had invited her. She managed this with great skill. She played a great role during the trip in helping us to develop business and took a great interest in what we did. So, as we enter this period of mourning let us remember the devotion with which she served this country and the great joy she brought. I too visited Buckingham Palace to lay flowers and a card in which I thanked her for everything she had done. It was a lovely experience and the atmosphere was so gentle and somber. I welcome too the new King. He has already started on an excellent path and has received the best of training. His address to the nation and his speech to Parliament were well judged and really showed the humanity of the man.

I also attended the Council of Europe (not part of the EU) to receive their comments on the Queen and the new King. There were many heartfelt and genuine expressions of shock and grief from across the wider Europe which I accepted. Many European parliamentarians had already written to me previously. They too welcomed the King and expressed their grief. They looked forward to a good relationship with us and the King. They pointed to the times her Majesty had visited the Council of Europe particularly when the new Court of Human Rights was opened. King Charles III has a lot of work to follow on with and on the basis of how he had worked so far I am sure he will do it magnificently.

It is difficult to get through this period in our lives. The Queen was always there and was a constant in all our lives. I knew no other. I was always amazed how I was so regularly asked on school visits whether I had met the Queen. Of course, it was a pleasure to say yes and give my impressions, for example when I attended the Diplomatic Service dance at Buckingham Palace. Now is the time to say a final goodbye to her late Majesty and to welcome the new King.

Read more from this author

This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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