Boris shares moment he choked up when asked to speak of Queen in past tense
Praising the late monarch as “Elizabeth the Great”, Mr Johnson also revealed that he recently “choked up” when he was asked to make a pre-recorded tribute to the Queen by the BBC.
In a House of Commons chamber filled with MPs clothed in black, Mr Johnson described the Queen as “the keystone in the vast arch of the British state”.
From the backbenches, he told MPs about his final audience with the Queen, “when she saw off her 14th prime minister, and welcomed her 15th”.
He added: “I can tell you, in that audience, she was as radiant and as knowledgeable and as fascinated by politics as ever I can remember and as wise in her advice as anyone I know, if not wiser.”
Mr Johnson praised the Queen’s “humility” and “refusal to be grand”.
He sparked laughter from the Commons when he said: “Unlike us politicians, with our outriders and our armour-plated convoys, I can tell you as a direct eye witness that she drove herself in her own car with no detectives and no bodyguard, bouncing at alarming speed over the Scottish landscape to the total amazement of the ramblers and the tourists we encountered.”
He revealed that the BBC had visited him “a few months ago” to speak about the Queen, and it was “requested that I should talk about her in the past tense”.
Mr Johnson said: “I am afraid I simply choked up and I couldn’t go on. I am really not easily moved to tears, but I was so overcome with sadness that I had to ask them to go away.”
The fact that today we can say with such confidence – God Save the King – is a tribute to him, but above all to Elizabeth the Great, who worked so hard for the good of her country, not just now but for generations to come
The former prime minister also shared an anecdote from his time as mayor of London, when he oversaw the 2012 Olympics.
He told MPs: “I remember her innocent joy more than ten years ago after the opening ceremony of the London Olympics when I told her that a leader of a friendly Middle Eastern country seemed actually to believe that she had jumped out of a helicopter in a pink dress and parachuted into the stadium.”
He added: “I remember her equal pleasure on being told just a few weeks ago that she had been a smash hit in her performance with Paddington Bear.”
Mr Johnson said the Queen also “knew how to keep us going, when times were toughest”, adding: “In 1940, when this country and this democracy faced the real possibility of extinction, she gave a broadcast – aged only 14 – that was intended to reassure the children of Britain.
“She said then: ‘We know, every one of us, that in the end all will be well’. She was right, and she was right again, in the darkest days of the Covid pandemic, when she came on our screens to tell us that we would meet again. And we did.”
Praising the “indomitable spirit with which she created the modern constitutional monarchy”, Mr Johnson concluded: “The fact that today we can say with such confidence – God Save the King – is a tribute to him, but above all to Elizabeth the Great, who worked so hard for the good of her country, not just now but for generations to come.”
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