Friday, 23 September 2022
Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth Ii and Accession of His Majesty King Charles Iii
I rise to pay tribute to Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and offer my deepest condolences to His Majesty the King and the royal family for the loss of our greatest monarch. Queen Elizabeth was an exemplar of dignity and service. Her dedication to serving God and the Commonwealth is unprecedented, and she served her people with humility and grace.
Since our late sovereign's passing, the profound expression of underlying respect and heartfelt affection for her has been abundant. Her funeral was among the most moving occasions we have ever witnessed. The outpouring of emotion that has swept across Britain, the Commonwealth and, indeed, the world has been truly remarkable—a testament to Queen Elizabeth's long service, and the indelible impression that she had on people's everyday lives, which is one that we reluctantly let go of.
In 1952, upon the death of her father, King George VI, the young and radiant monarch ascended to the Crown, ushering in a great wave of optimism and hope in a bleak post-world-war period. The preceding five decades had seen five different monarchs—indeed, her own reign had not been initially foreseen. The great British statesman Winston Churchill, who was her first Prime Minister, had a unique and deep bond with Her Majesty, admiringly remarking, in the sunset of his political days:
Never have the august duties which fall upon the British monarch been discharged with more devotion.
For most, Queen Elizabeth has been the only monarch in their lifetime. In a rapidly changing social and political world, just like the words of poet William B Yeats, 'When things fall apart, the centre cannot hold,' Elizabeth the faithful cast a resolute shadow over the era of her reign. She was a shining symbol who bestrode and made history. For as long as history is recorded, there will always be the second Elizabethan age.
Throughout her life our late sovereign had a deep and personal faith in God. This solid Christian belief navigated her values for a lifetime. It was a faith manifest in both words and deeds, and aside from her formal role as the Defender of the Faith, her commitment to God sustained and guided her in daily application. Her late Majesty's steadfast faith in God is exemplified in the first message that the Queen delivered at Christmastime when she said:
I want to ask you all, whatever your religion may be, to pray for me on that day—to pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you all the days of my life.
Her unwavering reliance on God and her commitment to serving her people was a promise made when she was 21, a promise kept. Even in her final days Her late Majesty, as monarch, met with her 15th Prime Minister.
While Her late Majesty was an abiding presence over the most transformative period in human history, one of her most endearing qualities was to connect with people from all walks of life, from heads of state to everyday citizens. In 2000 my great-grandmother, Min Crombie, and her sister, Aunty Nell, had the privilege of meeting Her late Majesty. Nanna Crombie lined up in Busselton for several hours to get a glimpse of the Queen passing by, only for Her Majesty to stop and, in noticing my family in the crowd, intentionally make her way over and greet them. My great-grandmother at the time was 87 years of age and, having already lived a full life, she fondly remarked that meeting Her late Majesty was one of the greatest highlights of her entire life.
Queen Elizabeth II's life and reign had an immeasurable impact. We are blessed as a nation to have been served so magnificently. So we give thanks to God for the life and service of our late sovereign. On behalf of all Western Australians, I say to Her late Majesty the Queen: thank you. Thank you for everything. Her passing marks the end of an era, and the reign of our new sovereign, King Charles III, now begins. Long live the King.