Holyrood leaders pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II one year on from death

Friday marks one year since the death of the Queen.

Craig Paton
Thursday 07 September 2023 14:18 BST
The Queen died last year at Balmoral (Jane Barlow/PA)
The Queen died last year at Balmoral (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

Holyrood leaders have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II ahead of the anniversary of her death.

The Queen died at Balmoral on September 8 last year at the age of 96, sparking 11 days of mourning.

As the country marks one year since the loss of its longest-reigning monarch, leaders at Holyrood came together to commend Queen Elizabeth II’s commitment to the nation.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “One year since the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth does present a moment for reflection on a long and dedicated life of public service.”

He added: “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 and it is within the halls and gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse that Her Majesty welcomes thousands of community leaders, volunteers, artists, activists, faith leaders and essential key workers in recognition of their service to Scotland.”

Mr Yousaf said he wanted to send his thoughts, and those of the Scottish people, to the King ahead of the anniversary of his mother’s death.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross said: “Twelve months ago, thousands of Scots gathered as her cortege 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 on 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.”

Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar praised the late Queen as a “dedicated public servant, demonstrating strength, leadership and empathy when her country needed it the most”.

“She brought our nation together at a time of crises and left a legacy of compassion in the various causes she championed,” he added.

“She reminded us that despite political disagreements and arguments, everyone here in Holyrood is here in the service of the Scottish people.

“Her kindness, wisdom and integrity are timeless values that will be passed down through the generations.”

Scottish Lib Dem leader Alex Cole Hamilton said the Queen’s death “ended a constancy in the lives of everyone in this chamber”.

He added: “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.

“And then, in the minutes and hours and days that followed the announcement from the Palace, Operation Unicorn unfolded with quiet precision and I pay particular tribute to the staff of this Parliament and public service workers across Scotland for the many hours and days they dedicated to that task.”

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