Queen Elizabeth II: Former prime ministers worry about monarch’s reign

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Former UK prime ministers who served during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign have reflected on the late British monarch’s extraordinary life.

There have been 15 prime ministers leading the UK government since the Queen ascended the throne in 1952.

She had regular contacts and weekly meetings with all her prime ministers, who kept her abreast of matters of national importance.

Of those who served during the Queen’s 70-year reign, six share their memories of their relationship with the UK’s longest-serving monarch.

Sir John Major, Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997;

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Sir John told the BBC he had “so many memories” of their meetings that were “different to what people imagined”.

“There was a lot of fun in them, there was a lot of humor in them, there was a lot of gossip in them.

“I think people would have been extremely surprised to realize the depth of information the Queen had about people’s lives in every possible part of the UK. She was always extremely well informed.

“And on foreign affairs, he always said, if there was a difficulty of a foreign leader, ‘Well, I met him many years ago,’ or ‘I knew his father.’ There was always a wise word. And those meetings with the queen were always the best part of a prime minister’s week.”

Sir Tony Blair, Prime Minister from 1997 to 2007

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Sir Tony said the Queen “personified everything that makes us proud to be British” and recalled her memories of his youth.

“The Queen has been a part of my life all my life. From the moment I waved my little flag as I watched her, as a child, being driven through the streets of Durham, to the honor of being her Prime Minister, my last meeting together her and then dining with her at Windsor Castle for the Garter ceremony just a few months ago, she was a constant presence of strength and stability.

“At that lunch, we sat next to each other and she was in sparkling form as we spoke – warm, kind, humorous and vivacious.

“They not only respected her but they loved her. They respected her because of the qualities of duty, decency, integrity and faith that she embodied. And they loved her because of the love and affection she gave us.”

Gordon Brown, Prime Minister from 2007 to 2010

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Mr Brown told the BBC the Queen was admired for her sense of public duty among other things.

“She was conscientious, she was thoughtful, she cared, she had a great sense of humor. She was endlessly patient even when talking about the details of a boring budget. But above all what shone through was her complete and utter devotion to country and constitution.

“It is the whole world that is mourning because she was a compassionate, dedicated, wonderful public servant and no one will ever forget her contribution.

“She was a peacemaker, she brought people together, she listened to people. She never told you where she stood on any partisan issue. She wanted people to come together.”

David Cameron, Prime Minister from 2010 to 2016

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In a statement, Mr Cameron said the Queen had been “the constant in all our lives over the past 70 years” and highlighted her diplomatic acumen.

“As our longest-serving monarch, her remarkable reign has lasted, for most people, our entire lives – we know nothing else. In those seven decades, he has been a rock of strength for our nation and the Commonwealth.

“There could be no better example of dignified public duty and unstinting service and we all owe her our sincere gratitude for her continued dedication, living every day with the commitment she made on her 21st birthday. Her dedication to our country was unparalleled and therefore leaves a lasting legacy.

“It was, every week, a privilege to have the almost unique ability to sit down, privately, with Queen Elizabeth and be able to seek her sage advice and counsel. I was fortunate to be able to call upon the knowledge of her greatest public servant of the world and, in fact, of the world’s most experienced diplomat”.

Theresa May, Prime Minister from 2016 to 2019

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Mrs May told the BBC that meeting the Queen every week was a “huge honour” for her, calling the monarch a “great hostess” who “wanted to put people at ease”.

“Of course we never say what happened and what was said to those audiences. But it was a conversation, a conversation with someone who had tremendous knowledge and understanding of the issues.

“A lot of people don’t realize how much work the Queen put into her red boxes to understand the issues of the day, what was going on in government and around the world.

“And quite simply, of all the leaders, of all the heads of state that I have met, Queen Elizabeth II was the most impressive.”

Boris Johnson, Prime Minister from 2019 to 2022

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Ms Johnson said in a statement that the Queen “selflessly and calmly” embodied “the continuity and unity of our country”.

“We think of her profound wisdom, her historical understanding, and her seemingly inexhaustible but understated sense of duty.

“Unstoppable, though her diary must have felt, she never let it show, and to tens of thousands of events – big and small – she brought her smile, her warmth and her gentle humor – and for 70 years unrivaled she spread the magic. around her kingdom.

“This is our country’s saddest day because she had a singular and simple power to make us happy. That’s why we loved her. That’s why we mourn Elizabeth the Great, the longest-serving and in many ways the best monarch in our history .”

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