‘She exemplified selfless leadership’: world leaders pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

By on 08/09/2022 | Updated on 11/09/2022
A picture of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, arrives in Port of Spain for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2009 Photo Commonwealth Secretariat
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II arrives in Port of Spain for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2009. Photo Commonwealth Secretariat

Senior government and political figures from around the world have paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II after it was announced that the UK’s longest-serving monarch had died aged 96.

Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952 and, leading the tributes, UK prime minister Liz Truss, who took office in a meeting with the Queen on Tuesday, said that she “was the rock on which modern Britain was built”.

Truss said the death was “a huge shock to the nation and to the world”, adding: “Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.

“Through thick and thin, Queen Elizabeth II provided us with the stability and the strength that we needed. She was the very spirit of Great Britain – and that spirit will endure.

“In the difficult days ahead, we will come together with our friends across the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the world to celebrate her extraordinary lifetime of service. It is a day of great loss, but Queen Elizabeth II leaves a great legacy.”

Cabinet secretary Simon Case, the head of the civil service, joined the tributes in a letter to King Charles III on Thursday.

“On behalf of all members, at home and abroad, of His Majesty’s civil service may I convey our most sincere condolences, and our deepest sympathy, on the very sad death of your mother and our sovereign, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Case said.

“As we come together now to mourn as a family of nations, we trust that Your Majesty will draw strength from the knowledge that your late mother was universally loved and respected,” his letter to the King read, as reported by Civil Service World.

Many other world leaders also issued tributes. Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau said it “was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”.

Trudeau said that the Queen had been “a constant presence in our lives – and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history”.

He added: “As we look back at her life and her reign that spanned so many decades, Canadians will always remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion, and warmth.

“Our thoughts are with the members of the Royal Family during this most difficult time.”

Mary Simon, the governor general of Canada, offered her deepest condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. “Canadians across the country will mourn the loss of The Queen. Let us take a moment to honour Her Majesty’s memory in each of our own ways.”

The governor general of Australia David Hurley announced the passing of Queen Elizabeth II to the country where, like Canada, she is head of state.

“I join with all Australians in mourning Her Majesty The Queen’s passing and in remembering her lifetime of tireless service. She was a truly remarkable person,” he said.

“When I reflect on my own memories – she was my Queen for my whole life – I think of Her Majesty’s dignity and her compassion. Her dedication and tireless work ethic. And her selflessness and unwavering commitment to the people whom she served. To us.

“Her death will sadden all Australians and will be felt around the world. As we mourn, we should also take inspiration from and give thanks for the remarkable contribution Her Majesty has made.”

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern expressed New Zealanders’ deep sadness at the passing “a monarch with an unwavering sense of duty”.

She said: “People throughout the world will be feeling an acute sense of loss at this time and New Zealanders most certainly share that grief. The Queen was a much respected constant through unprecedented global change.

“The Queen visited New Zealand on ten occasions, with that notable first tour over the summer of 1953-54 when she and Duke of Edinburgh visited 46 centres and attended 110 functions.

“She was here to celebrate with us at events such as the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games and the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.  She also mourned with us when we were hit by terrible tragedies such as the Tangiwai rail disaster and the February 2011 earthquake.

“I know a number of New Zealanders who had the privilege of meeting Her Majesty were struck by her keen interest, warmth and sense of humour. I remember in my very first meeting with Her Majesty being humbled by her intimate knowledge of New Zealand and its triumphs and challenges.”

Truss’s statement highlighted the Queen’s role in championing the development of the Commonwealth – from a small group of seven countries to a family of 56 nations spanning every continent of the world. Throughout her life she had visited more than 100 countries.

In a statement, the Commonwealth said: “With deep sorrow the Royal Family have announced the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“We join the Royal Family, the whole of the Commonwealth and the world in mourning her passing.”

The organisation also published A Life in Service retrospective of the Queen’s service on its website.

The secretary-general of the NATO military alliance Jens Stoltenberg said he was deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

“Over more than 70 years, she exemplified selfless leadership and public service,” he said.

“My deepest condolences to the Royal Family, to our NATO allies the United Kingdom and Canada, and to the people of the Commonwealth.”

About Richard Johnstone

Richard Johnstone is the executive editor of Global Government Forum, where he helps to produce editorial analysis and insight for the title’s audience of public servants around the world. Before joining GGF, he spent nearly five years at UK-based title Civil Service World, latterly as acting editor, and has worked in public policy journalism throughout his career.

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