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08 September 2023

Sunak remembers late Queen’s ‘sharp wit’ and devotion to duty

08 September 2023

The late Queen had wisdom, grace and a “sharp wit”, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said as he marked the first anniversary of her death.

Mr Sunak said gratitude for her service and “extraordinary life of duty and dedication” continues to grow, a year on from her death aged 96.

The Prime Minister said he treasured his memories of meeting the then-monarch, particularly his private audience before presenting his first Budget as chancellor in 2020.

He was not in office at the time of the late Queen’s death, having lost the Tory leadership contest to Liz Truss who became prime minister at Balmoral in the monarch’s final official engagement before her death.

I was struck by her wisdom, by her incredible warmth and grace, but also her sharp wit

Mr Sunak said that “on the solemn anniversary” of her death “our thoughts are with His Majesty King Charles III and the whole royal family”.

He said: “With the perspective of a year, the scale of Her Late Majesty’s service only seems greater.

“Her devotion to the nations of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth only seems deeper.

“And our gratitude for such an extraordinary life of duty and dedication only continues to grow.

“I treasure my memories of those occasions when I met Her Late Majesty, in particular the private audience I had with her at Buckingham Palace before presenting my first Budget as chancellor.

“I was struck by her wisdom, by her incredible warmth and grace, but also her sharp wit.

“People across the UK – whether they had the good fortune to meet Her Late Majesty or not – will be reflecting today on what she meant to them and the example she set for us all. We will cherish those memories.”

Mr Sunak said the “sacred” bond between the country and the monarch endures under the King.

“So, while we continue to mourn Her Late Majesty’s passing, we should be proud that this remarkable legacy of service – and this remarkable bond – continues to grow today under the reign of His Majesty The King.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the queues to see the late Queen lying in state showed she “always enjoyed a special bond with her people”.

“It was a relationship built from her understanding that service of this great nation is the thread that unites sovereign and subject,” he said.

“So, as we reflect on her legacy again today, let us embrace that spirit of public service as our guide towards a better future.”

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