Mr. Speaker, sir. I beg to move a humble Address be presented to Her Majesty to offer the cordial congratulations of this House on the occasion of Her Majesty's eightieth birthday, and to express our appreciation of Her Majesty'sunfailing devotion to the duties of State, the Nation and the Commonwealth, andour warmest good wishes for her long continuing health and happiness.
And that the said Address be presented to Her Majesty by such Members of the Houseas are of Her Majesty's most Honourable Privy Council or of Her Majesty'sHousehold.
Mr.Speaker, sir. This week we celebrate the 80th birthday of one of the mostrespected people of our times, whose sense of duty and service has had a profound impact on our country, the Commonwealth and theworld.
Years before the premature death of her father and her succession to the throne, the then Princess Elizabeth publicly dedicated her life to the service of her nation, but declared that she would need the support of the country toensure that she could fulfil this promise. She has, as we know, carried out this pledge through all the changes, both in her life and in this country, with extraordinary grace and dedication, and her people, here and acrossthe Commonwealth, who share in the celebration of her 80th birthday this year,have responded, as she hoped that they would, with theiraffection and support.
In a world which has been transformed in her lifetime, she has been a trulyremarkable source of constancy and of strength. Our country has facedtremendous trials, witnessed the horrors of the World War II and celebrated someextraordinary triumphs in her 80 years. Throughout, as part of the royal familyand as the Queen, she has been a reassuring and unifying presence for herpeople.
She has also responded to a world which has become more interdependent than ever by travelling extensively. In all, the Queen has undertaken over 256 official overseas visits to 129 different countries. I should also sayMr. Speaker, her Majesty shows no sign of slowing down. She has just undertaken what is her 14th tour of Australia, including the official opening of the Commonwealth games inMelbourne. She attends literally hundreds of public engagements every year andis an active patron of over 600 charities and organisations. There is simply noaspect of our national life of which she does not have both an interest and adeep understanding.
Her Prime Ministers have better reason than most to know and appreciate herknowledge and experience. I am the tenth Prime Minister to serve her. Like each of my predecessors, I am profoundly grateful for herwise counsel. She has superb judgment, an intuitive empathy with people and,above all, an unshakeable and profound sense of duty. It is this sense of dutywhich motivates her and defines her reign and, since it communicates itselfunobtrusively but none the less obviously to her subjects, brings her, Ibelieve, the love of the people of this country.
It is difficult in this day and age for the monarchy to balance the natural demands for accessibility and openness with thedignity and majesty of the monarch, but it is a balance that I believe she hasstruck with immense skill.
So I know that I speak for the whole House and, indeed, a grateful nation when Iconvey to Her Majesty the Queen our best wishes on her 80th birthday and say,"Long may she reign over us."