§ 11.8 a.m.
§ THE LORD PRESIDENT OF THE COUNCIL (VISCOUNT ADDISON)
My Lords, I am moved by the kindness of your reception of me after my absence. I think it will be in accord with the wishes of all your Lordships that, despite the other important matters which are before us, we should not fail, at the opening of our proceedings, to express Our feelings with regard to the health of His Majesty the King, our anxiety that he should continue to make good progress, our admiration of his fortitude, and our hope that before long he will be restored to as good and vigorous a state of health as nature will make possible. I am sure it is true to say that day by day, as we have read the bulletins of good progress, they have come to us with feelings of infinite relief, because we all know that there have been, and still are, days of great physical peril.
I think your Lordships would also wish, in expressing our earnest hopes for His Majesty's good progress, to include a tribute of admiration to Her Majesty the Queen and the Members of the Royal Family. We open our proceedings to-day, pregnant as they may be with great consequences in other matters, with a unanimous expression of our admiration for the King's fortitude and our hope that he will continue to make good progress.
§ 11.12 a.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I am sure that the noble Viscount the Leader of the House, whom we are so happy to see back in his place to-day, has interpreted the feelings of the whole House in taking this first opportunity of expressing our heartfelt sympathy with His Majesty the King on his recent operation, and of wishing him a rapid and 248 complete recovery. There are, as the noble Viscount has just said, many things on which we are divided—events abroad and events at home—but there is one matter upon which we are completely at one, and that is our deep loyalty and devotion to the Crown, and especially to the person of his present Majesty. As we have seen yet once again in recent weeks, no one in the long line of Kings of England has inspired deeper personal affection in his subjects. He has, in the truest sense of the words, been alike the ruler and the servant of his people. He has devoted his whole life and the life of his family to our welfare. He has shared in our joys; he has shared in our sorrows. We welcome the good news of his continued progress, and we send to him, to Her Majesty the Queen and to the whole Royal Family, whose anxieties we so greatly share, our heartfelt wishes for his early return to full health and vigour.
§ 11.14 a.m.
§ VISCOUNT SAMUEL
My Lords, on behalf of noble Lords who sit on these Benches, I would add my endorsement to the expressions so worthily uttered by the noble Viscount the Leader of the House and by the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition. The recent medical reports have been a welcome relief to a very great anxiety. When the news came that the King was seriously ill, there was on personal grounds a feeling of universal grief. From the standpoint of public affairs, at a moment of accumulated difficulties, political and economic, at home and abroad, that the Sovereign, the pivot of the State, should have been so struck down, was a cause of dismay. Happily, His Majesty is now well on the way to recovery. We all know that when someone has been ill and has undergone a severe and dangerous operation there is afterwards not only a bodily but a mental strain. There may be some moments, at least, of depression, of doubt whether the work done has been well enough done and whether there is much still left to do. Then the best tonic is not any medicine that the doctors can give, but an assurance that the work has been worthy, that the work has been successful and that there is much more waiting to be accomplished. So to-day those who speak for the nation, which has been witnessing the King's actions since he and the Queen accepted 249 the succession and throughout the long and often dangerous years that have since elapsed, may perhaps help a little in sending a respectful message—not as a mere flattering formula such as Kings and Princes know only too well, but sincerely and truthfully—of recognition of the excellence at all times throughout His Majesty's reign of the part played by the Crown in the affairs of State, and of the warm affection of the whole people for His Majesty's person.
§ 11.17 a.m.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY
My Lords, it is difficult to find words which will add anything to what has been so admirably said already by way of the expression of a universal feeling, yet I should desire to associate myself publicly with what has thus been said. The illness of the King has revealed in the most vivid and moving way the unique position which he holds both in our national life and in the personal affections of all his subjects. It is not merely a duty which we owe to the Kingship, but a devotion which we owe to the person of the King. Among all the blessings of this blessed nation, there is none that ranks higher than the possession of a Kingship. When to that is added, as it is, a personal devotion, respect and affection for the holder of that great office, then ours is indeed a blessed nation.
As I and as your Lordships know well, throughout the country an immense volume of prayer has surrounded the King, the Queen, the Queen-Mother and all the Royal Family through these anxious days and weeks. It has not been less moving to see how sympathy and concern have been felt in foreign countries all over the world. I know from messages I have received that many churches outside this country have been uniting their prayers with our own. I instance the fact that the Archbishop of Utrecht, representing the old Catholic Churches on the Continent, wrote to me a personal message, and Pastor Boegner, the leader of the French Protestants, did likewise. We have been sustained ourselves, as the King has been, by this volume of prayer far beyond the reaches of this country. We have rejoiced humbly at the continued good progress of the King, and pray still that His Majesty 250 may be restored, not only to a full recovery from the operation and from that which caused the operation, but to full action among us as both our leader and the devout and devoted servant of his people.
§ House adjourned during pleasure.
§ House resumed.