The Queen’s death has left a “huge hole after a remarkable, iconic, 96-year life”, Ealing Central and Acton MP Rupa Huq said in a tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II given in Parliament.
During an extraordinary sitting of the House of Commons on Saturday (10 September), Huq reflected on the Queen’s legacy and highlighted the monarch’s historic ties to Ealing, Acton and Chiswick, including a 1985 visit to open Ealing Broadway shopping centre.
“For locals my age,” the MP said, “it will always be 1985 that we remember […] It felt as though half [my] school had bunked off for it — except square old me. Many classmates who pulled a sickie got rumbled when the teacher saw them on the evening news, but she could not get too cross.” News footage of the Queen’s visit can be viewed here. Huq told us, “I was 13 but it was a big deal, my older sister still remembers it vividly”.
In her tribute, Huq, who attended a Buckingham Palace garden party in May and “dozens” of local Platinum Jubilee street parties, also referred to the 1977 Jubilee Street Party she went to on Pitshanger Lane, the first of many street parties she would eventually attend. “I remember my five-year-old mind being blown by the fact that I was sitting eating cake in the middle of Pitshanger Lane,” she said.
The Queen’s visit to Gunnersbury Park for the Golden Jubilee in 2002 was her last local visit. Huq recounted how the then-Mayor of Ealing, Kieron Gavan, who lunched with the Queen that day, asked the Queen “if she was ever tempted to take the head off while knighting with her sword someone she didn’t like. She replied that it’d be totally inappropriate. But she might nick the neck a tiny bit if they’re particularly irritating.”
The MP added that “we will never see the like of her again”, before concluding with, “The words “end of the era” cannot sum up 70 years, but as the Elizabethan era ends, another begins. It will take some time to get used to, and there will be new stamps and coins in time. May she rest in eternal peace. God save the King.”
On Sunday (11 September) at 2pm, Huq attended the Proclamation of King Charles III, the public announcement of the accession of the new monarch, outside Ealing Town Hall alongside fellow Ealing MPs Virendra Sharma and James Murray, as well as local councillors of all parties. Then yesterday (12 September), she was in attendance for King Charles’s address to both Houses of Parliament – Commons and Lords – in Westminster Hall.
Rupa Huq told us, “The nation is united in grief. Like Kieron Gavan, the one-time republican who was utterly captivated by meeting her, told me, it is a sad moment locally, nationally and internationally. Even Johnny Rotten who once snarled “God Save the Queen” has issued a glowing tribute. It’s no exaggeration to say we’ll never see the likes of her again.
“It may take some getting used to but the baton passes on and as for King Charles, long may he reign over us. I will be attending Her Majesty The Queen’s Lying-in-State this week to pay my respects.”
Borough of Ealing residents are welcome to sign a Book of Condolence at Ealing Town Hall, which is open to the public between 9am and 10pm. There is also an online Book of Condolence which has been set up by the Royal Household.