• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Witney MP Robert Courts pays tribute to 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: Robert CourtsRobert Courts

By Robert Courts, MP for Witney

Thursday 8th September was one of those days when it seems as if the world had stopped. In the streets, crowds of people looked at the notifications coming up on their phones, stopped and looked at each other without speaking, because everyone was thinking the same thing: the day that we all hoped would never come had finally come. It was the day we lost the best servant and best leader that this country could ever hope to have.

Since then we have been thinking, as we have heard from the speeches of tribute in the House of Commons and elsewhere, about the incredible honour and privilege it is to be able to call ourselves Elizabethans. I rise to pay tribute to Her Majesty on my behalf, that of my family, and that of my constituency of Witney and West Oxfordshire.

I think about the early contact that West Oxfordshire had with Her Majesty, the first example of which may have been in 1928, during the reign of King George V, when our area’s most famous son, Winston Churchill, stayed with the Royal Family at Balmoral. He wrote to his wife Clementine:

“There is no one here at all except the family, the Household & Princess Elizabeth – aged 2. The last is a character. She has an air of authority & reflectiveness astonishing in an infant”.

Is it not extraordinary, yet not surprising, that Winston Churchill picked out so early the very qualities in Her Majesty that would make her such a revered individual, the most famous woman in the world and the most revered monarch in our history? She had an easy authority, which so many people have spoken of movingly in recent days.

Throughout her 70 years of service, she saw unparalleled change. When she was a girl, the Royal Air Force was flying aircraft of wood and canvas, but she reached a time of fast, supersonic planes that do not even need a pilot – utterly extraordinary levels of change. She remained the same, yet she changed as society changed.

It is not just that the Queen had always been here, true though that is; it is not just that she was a constant, but that she was a unifying constant. We will all have different memories, but what is gone is not lost. The memories we have of her remain, and her example can guide us as we weather the storms of today and tomorrow.

As we heard in the electrifying speech by His Majesty the King on Friday evening, that duty will continue.

Although our voices are choked with emotion, we can all rally with the timeless cry: God Save The 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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