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Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament [Draft]

Meeting date: Monday, September 12, 2022

Agenda: Two Minutes’ Silence, Motion of Condolence


Contents


Two Minutes’ Silence

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

Your Majesties, members, law officers and distinguished guests, it is with great sorrow that we gather today to mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

On behalf of all members of the Scottish Parliament, I would like to convey our sincere condolences to Your Majesty, to the Queen Consort and to all members of the royal family, who are not only leading our national mourning, but grieving for a much loved mother, grandmother and great grandmother. The thoughts of this Parliament and of the people of Scotland are with the royal family at this time of grief.

Although we meet today at this time of sadness, this moment provides us, too, with an opportunity to reflect on Her Majesty’s remarkable life and, in particular, her bond with this Parliament.

We are reminded of Her Majesty’s commitment to and affection for this Parliament every time we sit.?On our establishment in 1999, Her Majesty kindly gifted the Parliament the beautiful mace that sits in the well of the chamber. The words that are inscribed on it—integrity, compassion, wisdom and justice—have guided and inspired us and will continue to do so. Those values were clearly reflected throughout Her Majesty’s life.

Her Majesty described this Parliament as being rightly anchored in the history of Scotland, and spoke of the “grit”, “determination”, “humour” and “forthrightness” of the people. Those are qualities that occupied a personal place in her own, and her family’s, affections.

Generations of people here in Scotland reciprocated that affection, and although today is a day of sadness, reflection and expression of our sincere sympathy, it is also a day to recognise and be thankful for Her Majesty’s long reign, her service to this country and her friendship to this Parliament. For in her, we have indeed had a true friend and supporter, with us at every step, from our first opening ceremony in 1999, to the opening of each subsequent session, and on our important anniversaries too.

The pandemic meant that our opening ceremony last year was delayed from its usual summer date to October, and Covid meant that precautions were in place, but Her Majesty was determined to join us and demonstrated the importance of her relationship with the Parliament and the people. We 129 members each invited a community representative—a local hero—to be a guest at that ceremony, in recognition of their selfless service to those in need during the pandemic. Her Majesty stopped and spoke with every single local hero waiting for her, asking about their contribution and thanking them sincerely for their efforts. Young and old, from the length and breadth of Scotland, their delight and pride at receiving Her Majesty’s time and interest was abundantly clear. That was a true demonstration of the time that Queen Elizabeth invested in the relationship with the Parliament and the people.

In my role representing the Parliament, I was privileged to enjoy two private audiences with Her Majesty following my appointment in 2021, and I very much valued her insight and wise counsel.

So, while we mourn today with the royal family and with the people of Scotland and others far beyond, we also give thanks, as a nation and as a Parliament, for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Scots, for her extraordinary life and work.

Before inviting the First Minister to move the motion of condolence, I ask you to join me in two minutes’ silence. Please stand as you are able.