Boris Johnson leads former PMs in heartfelt tribute to ‘Elizabeth the Great’ – POLITICO
LONDON — Boris Johnson paid a heartfelt tribute to ‘Elizabeth the Great’ as a crowd of former prime ministers mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Johnson – who left office this week – said in a statement it was the ‘sadest day’ for the UK because the Queen’s ‘bright and bright light’ had ‘finally gone out’ .
Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday at her holiday home in Balmoral, Scotland, aged 96 and after more than 70 years on the throne. She is succeeded by her eldest son Charles, who now becomes King Charles III.
Johnson had seen the Queen two days before, when he resigned as Prime Minister and was replaced by Liz Truss, who paid her own tribute to the Queen on the sodden steps of Downing Street on Thursday evening.
He said that in the hearts of all Britons “there is pain at the passing of our Queen, a deep and personal sense of loss – far more intense, perhaps, than we expected”.
“She seemed so timeless and so wonderful that I’m afraid we came to believe, like children, that she would go on and on and on,” Johnson said.
And he added: “As is so natural in human beings, it’s only when we face the reality of our loss that we truly understand what has happened. It’s only now that we really understand how much she meant to us, how much she did for us, how much she loved us.
The Queen, Johnson said, “selflessly and calmly” embodied “the continuity and unity of our country”.
“It is the saddest day in our country because she had a unique and simple power to make us happy,” he said. “That’s why we loved her. That’s why we mourn Elizabeth the Great, the oldest and in many ways the best monarch in our history.
Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May, said the Queen had devoted herself ‘wholeheartedly to a life of service’ and was ‘respected and admired not only by her own people but far beyond our family of nations’ .
The former Tory leader added: ‘As our longest reigning monarch, Her Majesty has witnessed enormous change, deftly moving with the times but always providing stability and solace. She was our constant throughout this great Elizabethan era.
Fellow Conservative David Cameron, in office between 2010 and 2016, said: “No matter how prepared one may be for this day, there are no words that can adequately express the sense of loss that our nation will feel”. The Queen, he said, had “been the constant in all of our lives for the past 70 years. As our oldest monarch. his remarkable reign lasted, for most people, our entire lives – we know nothing else.
John Major, Tory prime minister for much of the 1990s, told BBC News: ‘It’s very hard to fathom that that beaming smile, which lights up a room and lights up a country, just won’t be… there anymore. There would be, he predicted, “many tears shed tonight and over the next few days for Her Majesty the Queen”.
Tributes were also paid by surviving Labor Prime Ministers who served the Queen during her seven-decade reign.
Gordon Brown, the leader of the United Kingdom from 2007 to 2010, said “the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the whole world are united in mourning tonight”. Elizabeth II, he said, had “served this country to the end”.
Tony Blair, who served for 13 years as British Prime Minister, said: ‘We have lost not just our monarch, but our nation’s matriarch, the figure who more than any other brought our country together, kept us in touch with our best nature. , personified everything that makes us proud to be British. “