We mourn the death of our beloved Queen. The inevitability of the event does not dim the sadness of the event. She symbolised the best of Britain – love of country, devotion to duty, honour, decency, faith and the numinous historical continuity embodied in our monarchy. 
 
I was a month short of my third birthday when Princess Elizabeth succeeded her father, King George VI. I have no memory of anything before she became Queen. Her coronation in June 1953 is my first memory of a public event. Looking at the film footage of that ceremony 69 years later, one cannot fail to be struck with awe at its majesty and the absolute commitment the Queen then made to the spiritual and temporal life of our nation.
 
She ruled with perfect dignity and inspired universal respect, not just in the United Kingdom and ‘her other Realms and Territories,’ but throughout the world. It is impossible to exaggerate the extent to which she enhanced respect for Britain and the Commonwealth. In an ocean of flux, she was a rock of stability. 
 
As a constitutional monarch, she was above party politics and, by avoiding partisan controversy, she steered the monarchy safely into a very different world from the one into which she was born. By scarcely perceptible gradual changes, she preserved and enhanced an institution which has lasted for well over a thousand years, since King Athelstan was proclaimed King of All England in AD 927.
 
By dint of her longevity and her blameless service over seven decades, she became truly the Mother of the Nation. Let us mourn her passing but leaven our sadness with pride at her amazing achievement in preserving our monarchy by embracing imperceptible change – to the extent that republicanism in our country is the creed of cranks.
 
Living into extreme old age does accustom one to the inevitability of death. So today, as well as sharing the personal grief of the Royal Family, let us celebrate a life well-lived in the national interest and the example of selfless service she gave to us all.
 
God save the King.

Neil Hamilton
Leader – UK Independence Party