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Meet the people representing Derby and Derbyshire at the Queen’s funeral

today15 September 2022 2

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A very small number of people from Derby and Derbyshire have been officially invited to attend the Queen’s funeral on Monday, September. Among them will be the county’s Lord Lieutenant Liz Fothergill and also Derby South MP Dame Margaret Beckett.

Mrs Fothergill will be attending the funeral at Westminster Abbey along with other Lord Lieutenants from across the country. The role has its origins in the Tudor period when Henry VIII gave a commission of lieutenancy to a number of noblemen to raise and lead the local militia in the event of a Scottish or French invasion. Later in 1588, Queen Elizabeth I’s government issued commissions of lieutenancy for all the English and Welsh counties.

It was only in 1921 that the Militia Act finally removed from the Lord-Lieutenants their responsibility for enforcing order in the shires. and In this century, the Lord-Lieutenant is an honorary office appointed by the Crown under letters patent, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, and holds the office until retirement at not later than the age of seventy-five. As the Sovereign’s representative in the county, the Lord-Lieutenant is required to meet and attend the monarch and members of the Royal Family on visits to the county. Mrs Fothergill will be accompanied by her husband, Richard.

Mrs Beckett has had a busy week so far. She paid tribute to the late Queen in the House of Commons on Friday, the day after the Queen’s death – and then as a member of the Privy Council and one of the selected 200 members from around 800 councillors – she was invited to the Accession Council at St James’s Palace last Saturday, which saw King Charles III formally proclaimed monarch.

And on Wednesday, she once again headed for London to be part of the official party present for the start of the lying in state at Westminster Hall. Mrs Beckett has also received her invitation to the funeral on Monday and is busy working out how to get to the Abbey through the crowds and believes she may have to catch a bus to get there on time.

She said: “I was appointed to the Privy Council in 1993, when I was deputy leader of the Labour Party. But I think my time as a leader of the House of Commons between 1998 and 2001 and Lord President of the Privy council have led to my invitation to the funeral, which is a very great honour.

“Being part of the Accession Council party was interesting and I found myself in a fascinating group of people. No-one at the event of course had been to one before and so everyone was flying blind on the procedure. It is a desperately sad time for everyone and a real turning point in the life of our country.”

In her speech to the House of Commons, Mrs Beckett referred to Derby South and said: “We have had the great honour of entertaining Her Majesty on many occasions, not least—it is in everybody’s memory—when she opened our new football stadium and, indeed, our brand-new hospital. She was gracious enough to agree that we could give it the title of the Royal Derby Hospital, in which it rejoices to this day.

“Over the years, including three as Lord President of the Council, I was fortunate enough to have many encounters with Her Majesty, and I can absolutely endorse everything that has been and will be said about her intelligence, awareness and attitude. I was also fortunate enough to be present, after the death of our colleague John Smith, at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of D-day, and to be in the Queen’s company and to observe her utter respect for the veterans and the sacrifices of those days. I had many encounters with her as Lord President of the Council and, indeed, as Foreign Secretary I accompanied her on state visits. She was a remarkable person and a remarkable monarch. We are the poorer for her going.”

Derbyshire representatives will be joining heads of state and Royal families from across Europe and the wider world in Westminster Abbey, which seats around 2,200 people. The funeral will take place from 11am but the doors of Westminster Abbey will be opening in preparation for the coming congregation from 8am on Monday.

The state gun carriage of the Royal Navy, drawn by 142 sailors, will carry her coffin from Westminster Hall to the Abbey for the service.

A national two minutes’ silence will be held as the service ends, just before noon.

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