Today, we mourn the passing of a remarkable sovereign.
It is a deep, private loss for the Royal Family and all our first thoughts are with them at this time. The nation shares in their grief.
Queen Elizabeth II created a special, personal relationship with us all, a relationship based on service and devotion to her country. Nobody under the age of 70 has known anything other than Queen Elizabeth II on the throne. For the vast majority of us, the late Queen has been simply the Queen, the only Queen, above all else, our Queen.
As we mourn her loss, we should also treasure her life. Our longest-serving and greatest ever monarch. Above the clashes of politics, she stood not for what the nation fought over, but what it agreed upon. In crisis, she reassured us. Reminding us that we are all part of something that stretches back through time. A symbol of the best of us. I saw it for myself when I led the Crown Prosecution Service.
Every time I had the privilege to meet the late Queen, she would ask the most searching questions because she wanted to understand the lives and struggles of her people. And as Britain changed rapidly around her, this dedication became the still point of our turning world. An example that taught us that whatever the challenges we face, the value of service always endures.
And the obvious love the late Queen displayed for Britain, the British people gave back in return. That is why there is such an outpouring of grief across the nation today, as there is across the Commonwealth to which the late Queen was so devoted.
Around the world, people are united in mourning and united in celebrating her life. This togetherness is a reminder of what she achieved. A reminder of our shared values. Values which I know will be upheld by her beloved son, Charles, our new King.
So as our great Elizabethan era comes to an end, we will honour the late Queen’s memory by keeping alive the values of public service she embodied.
For seventy years, Queen Elizabeth II stood as the head of our country. But, in spirit, she stood amongst us.
Leader of the UK Labour Party