This weekend, I have joined the nation in mourning the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
It is a deep private loss for the Royal Family and my first thoughts are with them at this sad time. However I know millions of Britons, and people across the world, are united in grief.
During Her Majesty’s remarkable 70 year reign the world has transformed beyond recognition. She was an example to our nation in its finest hour, as well as some of its darkest. Her devotion to public service will be remembered for many, many years to come.
In our hearts and our imaginations, she was indistinguishable from her duty to our nation and the Commonwealth, which she fulfilled with remarkable grace and charm for over 70 years, winning the hearts of millions.
Her Majesty will be remembered as one of the all-time great diplomats. You can see that from the incredible tributes pouring in over the the weekend from every corner of the world: often deeply personal tributes from Western presidents to Commonwealth leaders. It has been very moving to realise how many lives she touched.
Under Her Majesty’s reign the Commonwealth grew from just seven to 56 members, representing more than 2.5 billion people – fostering international co-operation and trade links with people all over the world. Her Majesty will be remembered as a symbol of the links between our many nations. As she put it: “the Commonwealth is an example of multilateralism at work.”
Birmingham is a Commonwealth city. There are Brummies who can trace their roots to every corner of the Commonwealth. As a city our diversity is our greatest strength, and that shone through in every moment of the Commonwealth Games this summer. I think our city was proud to have hosted and celebrated a Games worthy of Her Majesty.
Last year I was enormously proud to have met Her Majesty alongside Keir Starmer at the launch of the Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace. My parents came to the UK from India in the 1950s under her reign. We grew up with lots of memorabilia of the Queen in our house, and we have all been incredibly fond of her throughout lives. So it was wonderful to finally meet her, warmly attending to her public duties as she has for more than six decades.
Today I have travelled to Westminster Hall in the Houses of Parliament, where King Charles III and the Queen Consort have arrived. I will hope to offer my condolences to the new King on behalf of the many constituents in Edgbaston who have contacted me to express their sorrow this weekend.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was our longest serving and greatest monarch. A constant in all our lives.
May she rest in peace.
Preet Kaur Gill MP
Birmingham Edgbaston covering Bartley Green, Edgbaston, Harborne and Quinton