Sep 14, 2022

King’s historic speech in Northern Ireland, first time since 1945 Transcript

King's historic speech in Northern Ireland, first time since 1945 Transcript
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Charles becomes the first king to visit Northern Ireland in 77 years. Read the transcript here.

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Speaker 1: (00:10)
King Charles, during this period of public mourning for Queen Elizabeth, we are mindful that you and your family grieve on the passing of a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother. I hope that you and your family can take comfort from the appreciation and the warmth that has accompanied the tributes to the queen from across these islands, and indeed across the world.

Speaker 1: (00:35)
[foreign language 00:00:35], I would like to sympathize with you at this difficult time. On the walls of parliament buildings at Stormont, there are images from two of the Queen Elizabeth’s visits, the first year in the coronation tour in 1953, and the second for the Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It’s extraordinary to consider how much social and political change Queen Elizabeth witnessed in the time between those visits and indeed throughout her long reign. Yesterday, an assembly of unionists, republicans, nationalists, and those for whom the constitution is not a main focus united to pay tribute to the late queen.

Speaker 1: (01:14)
When she first came to the throne, no one would’ve anticipated an assembly so diverse and inclusive, nor I imagine would it have been contemplated that someone from my own background and political tradition would be in this position in front of you today as speaker. We can’t, of course, never forget that over the last decades too many have experienced tragedy and sorrow which will never leave them. And, we have to understand that there are those for whom our political process has not yet been enough to ease their hurt and their pain. Thankfully, with the Good Friday Agreement and other significant developments, in that time we have also seen great efforts to build a peace for the future as painstaking and frustrating as it may at times be. Queen Elizabeth was not a distant observer in the transformation on progressive relationships in and between these islands.

Speaker 1: (02:09)
She personally demonstrated how individual acts of positive leadership can help break down barriers and encourage reconciliation. Queen Elizabeth showed that a small but significant gesture, a visit, a handshake, crossing the street, or speaking a few words of Irish can make a huge difference in changing attitudes and building relationships. Her recognition of both the British expectations as well as the wider diversity of our community was exceptionally significant. And all of this, she personally underlined that one tradition is not diminished by reaching out to show respect to another. Of course, such acts of leadership do not come without risks or the need for courage and determination to see them through. We are thankful for Queen Elizabeth’s commitment and encouragement to building peace and reconciliation across these islands, and indeed for all of those who seek to keep us moving towards that goal. With the queen consort at your side, you and I lead an institution with a long history and tradition.

Speaker 1: (03:14)
I represent the elected assembly of a society which has struggled with the legacy of our past and how to move on from it without leaving those who have suffered behind. During her visit to Dublin, Queen Elizabeth said that whatever life throws at us, our individual responses will be all a stronger for working together and sharing that load. Let us all pay heed to that. As we remember Queen Elizabeth’s positive leadership, let us all reflect that such leadership is still needed, and let us be honest with ourselves enough to recognize that too often that leadership has been lacking when it has been most required. I want to acknowledge that your own words and actions over the years have already shown that you are seized of the importance of reconciliation and are committed to playing your full part in that. The challenge for all of us now is to renew the work that you and to late Queen Elizabeth have already done.

Speaker 1: (04:12)
And, the responsibility on all of us is to work together to build a future for our whole community. In the time ahead, we will, of course, focus on that on our future at the start of this new era. However, the next few days will readily be focused on a family, a nation, on a world paying its respects and saying goodbye to Queen Elizabeth. Yesterday in parliament buildings, members express the condolences and sentiments of those they represent in our community. Thoughts and the prayers of the assembly are with you and your family in your grief. [foreign language 00:04:51], may she rest in peace.

King Charles: (05:09)
My lords, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most heartfelt thanks for your condolences. I’m here today at a time of great personal sorrow as we mark the death of my beloved mother, after a life most faithfully dedicated to the duty to which she had been called. It is fitting that we should meet at Hillsborough, which my mother knew so well and in whose beautiful rose garden she always took such pleasure.

King Charles: (05:53)
In the years, since she began her long life of public service, my mother saw Northern Ireland pass through momentous and historic changes. Through all those years, she never ceased to pray for the best of times for this place and its people, whose stories she knew, whose sorrows our family had felt, and for whom she had a great affection and regard. My mother felt deeply I know the significance of the role she herself played in bringing together those whom history had separated, and in extending a hand to make possible the healing of long held hurts. At the very beginning of her life of service, the queen made a pledge to dedicate herself to her country and her people and to maintain the principles of constitutional government.

King Charles: (07:08)
This promise she kept with steadfast faith. Now with that shining example before me, and with God’s help, I take up my new duties resolved to seek the welfare of all the inhabitants of Northern Ireland. During the years of my mother’s reign, it has been a privilege to bear witness to such a devoted life. May it be granted to us all to fulfill the tasks before us so well.

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