MPs pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as they swear oath to Charles III
Parliament held a minute’s silence in remembrance of Queen Elizabeth II, and paid tribute to the former monarch’s 70 years of service as they swore allegiance to King Charles III.
MPs stood solemnly in parliament and paid their respects following the death of the Queen, aged 96, last month.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo delivered a tribute to the monarch, highlighting the depth of real affection felt beyond the UK in the wake of her death.
“We were her Rock, and she was ours,” Mr Picardo said.
He said National Day celebrations were cancelled as Gibraltar “had nothing to celebrate” following her death and how for many she was the only monarch people had known.
All members of parliament, apart from Sir Joe Bossano, had lived in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and no other monarch.
Mr Picardo described how she will go down in history as the emancipation monarch, with colonialism ending in most regions.
He also remembered her 1954 visit to Gibraltar, and how Spanish dictator General Franco saw the Queen’s visit as a reason to impose restrictions leading to the closure of the border.
Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi, said Queen Elizabeth II left her mark and legacy throughout the Commonwealth, including in Gibraltar during her 1954 visit.
He reflected how the Queen has been a constant, and her reign saw three constitutions in Gibraltar.
“She leaves an enduring mark that will never be surpassed or reviled,” he said.
For the leader of Together Gibraltar, Marlene Hassan Nahon, the death of the Queen reopened wounds following the death of her mother Lady Marcelle Hassan last June.
Ms Hassan Nahon said she felt the Queen’s passing deeply, and Queen Elizabeth was an example she would try to follow.
She described the Queen as a “consensus figure”, who had dignity and kindness in public life, and united the nation in times of hardship.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Joseph Garcia, called the Queen’s death the “end of an era” and remembered meeting her six years ago in Buckingham Palace.
Dr Garcia said Gibraltarians had a “special place” in her heart, which was evident when he spoke to her.
He said that in 1954, she brushed aside security concerns to come to Gibraltar, in the face of advice not to do so and represented “stability, security and strength”.
“Meeting her was a genuine honour,” he said.
Speaker of the House Melvyn Farrell said there was a deep sense of grief following her death and spoke of how she led her country through the trials and tribulations in her reign.
“We thank her for a lifetime of service to our small nation,” Mr Farrell said.
Standing in parliament, Mr Farrell then said “God save the King”, welcoming King Charles III as the new monarch.
During the session, the MPs swore allegiance to the King in the presence of Chief Justice Anthony Dudley.