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Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament

Meeting date: Thursday, September 7, 2023


Anniversary of the Death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

Members will be aware that tomorrow is the first anniversary of the passing of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In the days that followed her passing, the Parliament came together to convey our sincere condolences to the royal family and to lead, with people across Scotland, tributes to Queen Elizabeth’s remarkable life and, in particular, her bond with the Parliament.

In view of tomorrow’s anniversary, we will have contributions from leaders before we move to First Minister’s question time.


The First Minister (Humza Yousaf)

One year since the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, we are presented with a moment for reflection on a long and dedicated life of public service. I am sure that colleagues will remember with great pride the beauty of Scotland’s landscapes and, perhaps more importantly, the warmth of Scotland’s people on Her Majesty’s final journey.

Her Majesty’s deep fondness for Scotland was well known. It is here that Queen Elizabeth chose to spend her most private family moments each summer. It is within the halls and gardens of the palace of Holyroodhouse that Her Majesty welcomed thousands of community leaders, volunteers, artists, activists, faith leaders and essential and key workers, in recognition of their service to Scotland.

On behalf of the people of Scotland, I send my thoughts to King Charles and the royal family in their private remembrance tomorrow.


Douglas Ross (Highlands and Islands) (Con)

Tomorrow, our thoughts will be with the King and the royal family on the first anniversary of the passing of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Twelve months ago, thousands of Scots gathered as her cortège made the final poignant six-hour journey from Balmoral to Holyrood palace, as she had wished. Flowers marked the route in Ballater, bagpipes played in Aboyne, farmers lined their tractors along the roadside and thousands stood on the Royal Mile to pay their last respects. Our late Queen brought the country together in her life and in her death. The late Queen cherished Scotland and, in her passing, the country showed how much it cherished her.

Tomorrow marks one year since we lost our late Queen, but on every day since then we have remembered her warmth, her leadership and her unstinting and dedicated service to this country for 70 years.


Anas Sarwar (Glasgow) (Lab)

Our longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, was a dedicated public servant, demonstrating strength, leadership and empathy when her country needed it the most. She brought our nation together at times of crisis and left a legacy of compassion in the various causes that she championed. She reminded us that, despite our political disagreements and arguments, everyone here in Holyrood is in the service of the Scottish people. Her kindness, wisdom and integrity are timeless values that will be passed down through the generations. Scotland will remember her fondly.


Alex Cole-Hamilton (Edinburgh Western) (LD)

The passing of Her Majesty ended a constancy in the lives of everyone in the chamber. It was a moment in time that will come to define the early years of this century. Across these islands, the Commonwealth and, indeed, the whole world, there was a collective sigh of sadness and thanksgiving for her life of service.

In the minutes, hours and days that followed the announcement from the palace, operation Unicorn unfolded with quiet precision. I pay particular tribute to the staff of this Parliament and public service workers across Scotland for the many hours and days that they dedicated to that task. From the roadsides of Aberdeenshire to the catafalque at Westminster Hall, those days showed Scotland and the United Kingdom at their very best. I think that Her Majesty would have been pleased that so many marked her passing by engaging in the great British pastime of standing in line.

On this anniversary and on all those to come, we will hold the royal family in our thoughts and remember the extraordinary life and service of Queen Elizabeth II.