The Master Mercer's Speech at the Diamond Jubilee Lunch
The following speech was given in the presence of Her Majesty The Queen by the Master Mercer, Mr Thomas Sheldon, at the Diamond Jubilee Lunch hosted by the City Livery Companies and held in Westminster Hall on Tuesday 5 June 2012.
“Your Majesty, it is the greatest possible honour for me, as Master of the Mercers' Company, and on behalf of the Livery Companies of your City of London, to pay tribute to you on this most special of days . A day when the City has already solemnly marked this Jubilee at our great Cathedral of St Paul and through the colour and drama of the Thames River Pageant.
Today we mark and we give thanks for your 60 years of unstinting, unwavering commitment and service to the nation, to the wider world, and also to each and every one of your subjects here in the United Kingdom, and each and every man and woman of the nations of the Commonwealth.
How right it is that we should honour you here in Westminster Hall, a place that traces its history back nearly one thousand years and a place which has itself played such a dramatic part in our national story.
Your reign writes a further proud chapter of that extra-ordinary story. When you came to the Throne there was talk of a new Elizabethan Age. Much has changed in the last six decades, but it has been the age of Elizabeth.
You embody the very best of our national values, and represent all of which we are most proud.
You are a constant in a changing world, and a constant good, with a reign characterised by a very personal connection and affinity with everyone you meet, whether they be head of state or the youngest child.
It also gives us particular pleasure to welcome members of your family here today -The Prince of Wales & the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Each of whom makes a distinctive and distinguished contribution to our national life. We are particularly sorry that the Duke of Edinburgh is unwell and can't be with us, but we all wish him a speedy recovery.
Today there is before us a vast concourse of the nation.
From the City's Livery Companies; a little like the Monarchy, we cherish our great history and we have a continued commitment and engagement to help to meet the demands and challenges of the modern age, and from the causes and the people across the nation we are proud to support. We also have today the marvellous young musicians of the National Children's Orchestra.
There is a vast concourse beyond these ancient walls, listening on the radio, watching on television or the internet, here in your United Kingdom and across every corner of the globe.
Your Majesty, I can think of no single individual who embodies duty, service and goodness as you do.
I can think of no individual held in greater affection and respect.
It is my honour to speak for the City's Livery Companies today, but I do so with the voices of countless millions raised alongside my own.
God save your Majesty!”