The last few weeks have been momentous as we have mourned the loss of the Queen.
This has not just been a period of national mourning, but global, as people the world over have paid their tributes.
All of which attests to Queen Elizabeth II’s extraordinary life.
For seven decades, she dedicated herself to service. She meant so much to so many of us, and at times, it felt like we would never lose her.
Her passing is a truly sad moment, but it has also reminded us of everything she did as our Head of State.
While the world changed dramatically during her reign, she remained an ever-constant stabilising figure.
Standing above the fray of politics, she helped to lead our nation, keeping it steady, no matter the political turbulence.
And throughout all this change she assured us and symbolised the commitment, selflessness, and humility that we expect from our leaders.
Not only this but her work was of huge impact on the countless organisations and individuals she met.
One of my earliest childhood memories was seeing the Queen as she visited the pioneering St Christopher’s Hospice in my constituency.
Her support, and that of the Royal Family, made such a huge difference to their work.
And the Queen also helped to bring us together with numerous jubilees and celebrations over the decades.
Just this summer, we came together to hold platinum jubilee parties.
I was proud to help organise my jubilee street party and it was so heartening to see neighbours coming together for the first time since the pandemic.
While these last few weeks have been sombre, it has been an honour and privilege to be part of the services to mark the Queen’s reign and pay respect to her work.
This has included paying tributes in the condolence books in Bromley and Lewisham and also giving a tribute speech in Parliament.
I was also extremely humbled to attend the service for receiving the Queen’s coffin and to attend the lying-in-state.
It was also there to hear King Charles III address Parliament in Westminster Hall.
But everything these last few weeks has only been made possible by the thousands of people working behind the scenes.
Whilst plans for the Queen’s funeral have been in place for decades, their enactment has gone seamlessly, and I would like to thank everyone involved who has made this happen.
This work and the outpouring of tributes the world over is all testament to Queen Elizabeth II’s incredible service, dedication, and life.
She went above the call of duty, and for that, we will always be grateful.