Conservative councillors joined tributes to Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a Special Council Meeting at Woolwich Town Hall. Read Opposition Leader Councillor Matt Hartley's speech below (watch online here).
"Thank you Mr Mayor. I rise to second this Motion of Commemoration. It is a privilege to follow the fine words we have heard from the Leader of the Council – and I am looking forward to listening to others’ contributions as well. Our tributes this evening join the many millions of words that have been spoken in the last week, across a nation in Mourning. It has been noted that 21 years ago, Her Late Majesty said: "Grief is the price we pay for love". That has felt particularly true these last few days.
And so it is right that we have created this occasion, this evening, to express our grief, and our love - as well as that of the communities we represent as councillors in this borough.
We have a particular responsibility to do so, here, Mr Mayor, as this is of course, not just any borough, but a Royal one. Just a word – and yet so much more than just a word.
It is a symbol, and a message. It tells us that this is a special place, with a special history and character, and many close associations with the Royal Family – as we were eloquently reminded by the Deputy Lieutenant at the Proclamation on Sunday.
These are royal associations that we can all take pride in. Whatever our background. Whatever our faith. Whatever our politics. Our status as a Royal Borough binds us all together, just as Her Late Majesty bound the nation together for 70 glorious years.
In the manner in which she reigned, our late Queen provided the highest example of public service. Through her sense of Duty. Integrity. Kindness. And Community.
And she provided all of us with the sense of perspective that comes from such a long reign. Particularly during the pandemic. I, for one, will never forget sitting in our living room, watching her address to the nation - when she found those perfect words - "we will meet again". Those words got us and our residents through some very dark times. She was always there for us, and we will always be grateful.
More than anything, Mr Mayor, this past week has reminded us all of the extraordinary qualities and value of our constitutional monarchy. The golden thread that weaves through our history and through the geography of the United Kingdom, including our own small stitch here in Greenwich.
On paper, in the year 2022, it just shouldn’t work. But it does. It does work. And it works in no small measure because of the sacrifice Her Late Majesty made, devoting her life to shaping the modern monarchy – an institution on which we know we can always depend.
There can be no doubt that this will continue in the reign of King Charles III. So, as His Majesty begins his own reign, he should know that he can always depend on the loyalty, respect and admiration of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and the people who live here.
The motion is seconded, Mr Mayor, thank you – and God Save The King!"