The King visits Parliament to unveil tributes to Queen Elizabeth II
14 December 2022
His Majesty King Charles III attended the Palace of Westminster on 14 December 2022, for a visit of thanksgiving and remembrance in honour of the King’s mother, Queen Elizabeth II.
The King’s visit
The King unveiled a gift from parliamentarians to the late Queen, which marked the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee, a pair of unique bronze sculptures featuring the heraldic beasts of the United Kingdom.
The King also unveiled a plaque on the floor of Westminster Hall, which marked the site of the Lying-in-State of the late Queen. The installation of the plaque continues a royal tradition that stretches back to King Edward VII in 1910, with today’s unveiling the first time that a reigning monarch has unveiled the tribute.
During the visit The King met with the Speakers of both Houses, as well as the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition. The King also spoke to parliamentary staff who had helped to deliver the historic Lying-in-State ceremony, where over 200,000 members of the public paid their respects to the late Queen earlier this year.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, said: ‘Seeing King Charles unveil our traditional gift to his mother, Her late Majesty, was particularly poignant. We wanted to present something long-lasting, beautiful and emblematic of the esteem with which we held our Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee – and I believe these ornate lamps do just that.’
Lord McFall of Alcluith, the Lord Speaker, said: ‘It was an honour to welcome The King to Parliament today, especially for such an important occasion – to give thanks to his mother, Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth. For 70 years the country had been privileged to witness her commitment to constitutional monarchy, and was rightfully admired for her loyalty and faithfulness to duty. These sculptures will serve as beacons to future generations, reminding them of the magnificence of her reign and the esteem in which the Queen was held.’
Platinum Jubilee gift
Commemorating a unique moment in the nation’s history, the Platinum Jubilee gift is situated between two previous gifts to Queen Elizabeth II - the Diamond Jubilee window in Westminster Hall and the Silver Jubilee fountain in New Palace Yard.
All four countries of the United Kingdom are represented in the work, including the Lion of England, the Unicorn of Scotland, the Dragon of Wales and the Irish Elk of Northern Ireland. The lanterns themselves, switched on for the first time today by The King, reflect the shape of St Edward’s Crown.
The Speaker and Lord Speaker asked Rt Hon Michael Ellis KC MP, who organised the late Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Gift in 2012, to lead on this year’s Jubilee project, which as in 2012 has been entirely funded by personal donations from members of both Houses and from across the political spectrum - with no expense to the taxpayer. Members of the public can view the gift from the free-to-access areas of the Palace of Westminster.
Cambridge-based sculptor Tim Crawley was chosen to design the sculptures, working alongside Hampshire fine art foundry Morris Singer. Taking inspiration from the architecture and heraldic art found within the Palace of Westminster, Crawley studied the stone carvings and masonry in the immediate area, creating pieces that are sympathetic to their environment.
Michael Ellis KC MP said: ‘This year’s Platinum Jubilee was unique in the long history of these islands and our magnificent late Queen was honoured across the world for her service and duty. It is a longstanding tradition that both Houses of Parliament present the Sovereign with a Gift marking a Jubilee and these bronze sculptures of the heraldic beasts of the United Kingdom are symbolic of Her late Majesty’s unifying effect on her people, the strength she showed throughout her reign and the elegance and style with which she undertook her duties. The gift has been a labour of love over the past two years for the wonderful artist and the specialist artisans working on it.’