Boris Johnson paid a heartfelt tribute to "Elizabeth the Great" as politicians remembered Queen Elizabeth in the House of Commons in London on Friday (09.09.22)
The former UK Prime Minister – who left office earlier this week – reflected on the life of the late monarch after her death at the age of 96 on Thursday (08.09.22) and fondly recalled the "indomitably" and "work ethic" that made her reign so successful.
During a speech given to Parliament, Boris said: "I know I speak for other ex-PMs when I say that she helped to comfort and guide us, as well as the nation.
"Because she had the patience and the sense of history to see that troubles come and go and that disasters are seldom as bad as they seem.
"And it was that indomitability, that humour, that work ethic, that sense of history which together made her Elizabeth the Great."
Johnson was one of 15 Prime Ministers during the Queen's 70-year reign and he described her as the "greatest and statesman and diplomat of all".
The 58-year-old politician, who was succeeded at 10 Downing Street by Liz Truss this week, said: "Over that extraordinary span of public service, with her naturally retentive and inquiring mind, I think, and doubtless many of the 15 would, that she became the greatest statesman and diplomat of all."
Boris reflected on how the Queen had been "radiant" during his last meeting with her on Tuesday (06.09.22) as he stepped down as Prime Minister.
He said: "That impulse to do her duty carried her right through into her 10th decade to the very moment in Balmoral, as my right honourable friend (Liz Truss) has said, only three days ago, when she saw off her 14th Prime Minister, and welcomed her 15th.
"I can tell you, in that audience, she was as radiant and as knowledgeable and as fascinated by politics as ever I can remember and as wise advice as anyone I know, if not wiser."
Boris also praised the Queen for her "instinctive" ability to bring cheer to the British people and reflected on her famous skydive sketch with James Bond at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games as well as her turn with Paddington Bear at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations earlier this year.
He said: "She knew instinctively how to cheer up the nation, how to lead a celebration and I remember her innocent joy more than 10 years ago after the opening ceremony of the London Olympics when I told her that the leader of a friendly Middle Eastern country seemed to actually believe that she had jumped out of a helicopter in a pink dress and parachuted into the stadium and I remember with equal pleasure just a few weeks ago when she was told she had been a smash hit in her performance with Paddington Bear."
Johnson explained that the Queen had taught the world both "how to love" and "how to serve" during her time on the throne.
He said: "Think what we asked of her – and think what she gave.
"She showed the world not just how to reign over a people, she showed the world how to give, how to love and how to serve."
Johnson also recalled how he was "moved to tears" during an interview with the BBC about the Queen as he was asked to refer to the monarch in the past tense.
He explained: "A few months ago the BBC came to see me to talk about Her Majesty the Queen. And we sat down and the cameras started rolling. And they requested that I should talk about her in the past tense.
"And I'm afraid I simply choked up and I couldn't go on. I'm really not easily moved to tears, but I was so overcome with sadness, that I had to ask them to go away."