Speaking at the House of Lords in the UK, Baroness Arminka Helic, who was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressed her respect for the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning British monarch whose rule spanned seven decades, died on Thursday at the age of 96.
This is what Helic said about the late Queen:
“I’ve never had the honour of meeting her majesty. I had the honour of being in her presence though. I did not grow up in Britain or in the Monarchy. Queen Elizabeth was not the daily background to my childhood and identity, as I know she was for so many of you in this House, in the nation and across the Commonwealth.
In school, I was taught about the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia and its royal family, who had abandoned the country in a time of great difficulty in WWII, and whose supporters have been on the wrong side of history.
Yet, as I studied the language and literature of this country at university, and then as I sought refuge here, the virtues and principles of her late majesty the Queen showed me a different idea of monarchy.
The values Elizabeth II embodied, the values to which noble lords have paid tribute so eloquently, were the values I have come to associate with this United Kingdom, which is now my home. The sense of servitude she so defined, and it defined her, and which she chose to emphasize as the fundamental principle of her reign, is an example and an inspiration to all of us in public life.
The Queen was a reminder that, across periods of huge change in politics, society, and technology, there are values that persist.
Through times of uncertainty and division, she was a unifying force.
You could look to her for continuity, for an idea on how to act, and how to serve. Her leadership was respected and admired across the world.
As one former refugee from Iran, now serving in the UN, told me this morning, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, she was a point of light for us all. For the people of this nation, of the Commonwealth, of the world, the queen represents an ideal of decency and quiet duty, which offers hope and reassurance.
For those like me, who came to this country as refugees and immigrants, the queen brought us together, in our admiration and love for her, we became British.
She was a lighthouse, guiding us through the darkness, showing us, by her actions, how we might place duty and humility at the heart of our lives. So she will remain.
My thoughts now are with her family and with his majesty, the King. Our pain can only be a shadow of what they feel. Those who knew her best, who loved her first as a mother and a grandmother.
I offer his majesty, King Charles III, my loyalty and support and pray for his long reign.”