‘No monarch better deserves the attribute of greatness. For me, she is already Elizabeth The Great’: Boris Johnson pays tribute to the Queen’s ‘devotion and leadership’ as he gives speech to Parliament for Platinum Jubilee
Beleaguered Boris Johnson has paid tribute to the Queen ahead of her Platinum Jubilee, calling her ‘a rock’ and insisting ‘For me, she is already Elizabeth The Great’.
The Partygate scandal-hit PM, 57, said no monarch had ever served the country ‘so long’ and ‘so well’ as Queen Elizabeth II.
Mr Johnson made the comments in Parliament ahead of the four-day celebrations next week.
He said: ‘Today we pay tribute to a Head of State whose length of service and dedication to duty are simply without parallel.
‘The only monarch most of us in this country have ever known and the rock to which our nation and our people have been anchored throughout all that the past 70 years have thrown at us.
‘No monarch, by her efforts and dedication and achievement, better deserves the attribute of greatness. And for me, she is already Elizabeth The Great.
‘Since the Palace of Westminster was founded more than 1,000 years ago, it has seen war and peace, plague and plenty, the rise and fall of empires and all kinds of revolutions: scientific, industrial, political, ecumenical, stylistic.
‘And almost 50 monarchs – in trying to rank the achievements of those monarchs it must be admitted that not all of them set exemplary standards of personal behaviour and quite a few were removed violently and prematurely from office.
Queen Elizabeth II attends the Elizabeth line’s official opening at Paddington Station in 2022
‘But in our history, no monarch has ever served this country so long as this one with the first Platinum Jubilee ever but far more importantly, no monarch has ever served it so well.’
Boris Johnson joked that the Queen parachuted out of a helicopter in a pink dress only in one ceremony.
The Prime Minister told the Commons: ‘In her 25,677 days as Queen, Her Majesty has undertaken more than 21,000 official engagements in well over 100 countries.
‘She has granted royal assent to some 4,000 pieces of legislation sent to her by this House, hosted 112 state visits and been served by 14 British prime ministers… so far.
Boris Johnson speaking as he pays tribute to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, ahead of her forthcoming Platinum Jubilee
‘Across all her realms, she has offered counsel and wisdom to more than 170 heads of government, including two generations of Trudeau… so far. She’s the holder of at least seven world records, including the most summer Olympiads opened by one person.
‘Although, only one such ceremony did she parachute out of a helicopter in a pink dress. And of course, there was one Olympic medal ceremony where she could claim to have bred both the rider, the Princess Royal, and the horse.’
He added: ‘It is not so much what she has done as the way she has done it. Getting the best out of people, inspiring them to serve others and to serve their communities, helping to create that invisible thread of pride and allegiance that tugs on all our hearts and makes us happy to serve or at least to do something for our country in the way that she serves this country.’
Boris Johnson said his audiences with the Queen are ‘always immensely comforting’.
He said: ‘I know prime ministers are not supposed to relay their conversations with the Queen. And I will not, except to say that her knowledge and understanding of politics and world affairs is profound.’
The Prime Minister added: ‘There have been times when I’ve been scrambling to remember a historical date or the name of some African capital and she has got there first, and when it comes to some subjects, anything equestrian I am certainly nowhere.
‘And can I speak for every prime minister who has ever had an audience with Her Majesty when I say that our conversations are always immensely comforting, because she has seen the sweep of it. And she has seen the cycle from gloom to elation and every time her country under her has gone forward from strength to strength.’