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Former premiers, civic leaders pay tribute to the Queen

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paying tribute: Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton (File photograph)

Civic leaders and former politicians paid tribute to the Queen shortly after her death was announced this afternoon.

Charles Gosling, the Mayor of Hamilton, described the Queen as “our beloved Monarch”, and noted that she had “a special connection” to Bermuda.

Mr Gosling said: “Bermuda was Her Majesty’s first stop on her inaugural commonwealth tour in 1953. She subsequently returned to Bermuda five more times – in 1975, 1976, 1983, 1994 and 2009 for Bermuda's 400th anniversary celebrations and spoke fondly of her time here.”

Reflecting on her lifetime of service, Mr Gosling said: “Queen Elizabeth transitioned a post-Second World War Britain through a period of tremendous change which was done judiciously in her Constitutional role, firstly recognising the existential changes in the world’s politics post-war, then respecting emerging nations’ self-determination and the rights of their newly independent citizens.

“I believe that this is why she has been so loved and respected around the world.

“Her Majesty’s special connection to Bermuda will remain in our memories, as part of her local legacy to the people of Bermuda.”

In June the corporation celebrated the Queen’s platinum jubilee with a ceremonial tree planting in Queen Elizabeth Park, marking 70 years on the throne.

Next week the City will place a special commemorative book in the reception area at City Hall for the entirety of the month should members of the public wish to leave a message to mark her exceptional reign. We invite you all to do so.

Dame Pamela Gordon-Banks, the island's first female Premier
Royal Memory: Dame Pamela Gordon, former premier

Dame Pamela Gordon, who served as Bermuda’s premier from 1997 to 1998, recalled a touching exchange of words with the Queen when she was honoured with a damehood by the monarch in 2004.

During the ceremony, the Queen spoke with her about the challenges of being the island’s first woman premier.

During their exchange, the Queen broke into a laugh.

Dame Pamela said she believed the Queen’s poise and dignity “will not be replaced”.

“She showed what service for country really means,” she said.

“She was an amazing woman who carried herself with a dignity like no other, with an ability to keep her family together, her country together, and all that she represented.”

She added: “Hopefully over the days and weeks ahead we will all be able to show our appreciation for someone solid in our lives. Where things are so changeable, she was a constant.

“In a changing world where people find reasons to be angry, at least there was that solidifying personality that you could always turn to. That’s gone – it is the passing of an era.”

George Dowling, the mayor of St. George, said: “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty.

“Bermuda was one of her favourite places and I offer my condolences to the Royal Family on behalf of the town and people of St. George.”

Queen Elizabeth II with Sir John Swan, the former Premier (Photograph from online)

Sir John Swan, the former premier, told The Royal Gazette he was “very saddened” by the news of the Queen’s death.

He said: “I couldn’t help when I got the message that my heart took a beat. She was only nine years older than me.

He said: “She made a number of visits to Bermuda and was always very gracious. She was a great strength to the Commonwealth.

In a Facebook post, Sir John added: “Those of us in the Commonwealth will feel the pain of the passing of such a special person and no doubt those around the world as well who saw her as a symbol of decency and graciousness.

“I have been fortunate to have met her on a number of occasions and was honoured to have been knighted by her in 1990.

“We should all in our own quiet way reflect on what she has meant to us individually and collectively and recognise that the torch has now been passed. Long Live The King.”

Ewart Brown, the former Premier, talks to the Queen at the State Dinner at Tucker’s Point in 2009 while his wide, Wanda Henton Brown, speaks to Prince Philip.

Ewart Brown, another former premier, recalled hosting the Queen and Prince Phillip when they visited Bermuda in November 2009.

“We recognised then, and we do so now, that irrespective of anyone’s political persuasion or beliefs, the Queen is someone to salute for 70 years of exemplary, steadfast, and tireless public service,” Dr Brown said. “What a stateswoman.

“To die at 96 – only two days after attending to her duty to receive and give assent to the new British Prime Minister — what an amazing feat to serve for so very long and remain committed until virtually her dying day.

“Our prayers are with the Queen’s family, the people of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and throughout the world. We have lost one of the most extraordinary figures in history.”

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Published September 09, 2022 at 7:37 am (Updated September 09, 2022 at 7:37 am)

Former premiers, civic leaders pay tribute to the Queen

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