AS A period of mourning envelops the district, tributes have been paid to the late Queen Elizabeth II who passed away yesterday evening (Thursday).
Stratford MP Nadhim Zahawi posted on his Twitter page: “Her Majesty’s passing saddens me more than I can say. Mine and my family’s prayers are with her family as she is reunited with her strength and stay, the Duke of Edinburgh.
“Her sense of duty, warmth and obvious kindness made Britain home to me and so many others.
“Throughout my life I have been proud to live in a country that had the privilege of having Her Majesty at its head. But her reach went beyond the shores of this great nation. Her Majesty was – and always will be – a beacon of light in every corner of the globe
“In this darkest of moments, I take comfort in knowing Her Majesty will always be with us as long as we uphold to the values she exemplified.”
Representatives of Stratford District Council (SDC) said they was saddened at the news of the Queen’s death and offered their condolences to her family and friends at this time.
SDC Chairman Mark Cargill said: “On behalf of all councillors and officers at Stratford District Council, I wish to express our sadness at the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this sad time.
“I, like many of you, have only ever known one Queen, Queen Elizabeth, which makes her passing doubly sad. Her noble sense of duty and dedication to public service for over 70 years was admired not only in Britain and the Commonwealth but around the world.”
SDC Leader Tony Jefferson continued: “This is an extremely sad occasion. Queen Elizabeth’s reign has been the one constant backcloth for virtually all my life, as it will have been for most people. Her Majesty will be sorely missed.”
SDC chief executive David Buckland added: “On behalf of all of the employees at Stratford District Council, we are deeply saddened by the news of the death of Her Majesty the Queen, and I offer our deepest condolences to his Majesty King Charles III and the Royal Family at this very saddest of times.”
Stratford Mayor Coun Gill Cleeve said: “It is with deep sadness, that today we learn of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. The thoughts of Stratford Town Council and the people of the town are with all members of the Royal Family as they mourn such a significant loss”.
The Royal Shakespeare Company, of which the Queen was a patron, also paid tribute this morning (Friday).
RSC Executive Director Catherine Mallyon and RSC Acting Artistic Director Erica Whyman said: “We are deeply saddened at the news of the Queen’s death, and our thoughts are with her family, and particularly our President, HRH The Prince of Wales. Her Majesty the Queen has been Patron of the Royal Shakespeare Company since 1961, when the Company was created.
“Her Majesty last visited us in Stratford on 4 March 2011, to open formally the transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre. This was a memorable day in the history of the RSC where she met and talked with members of the Company and those involved in the redevelopment and transformation of the theatre.
“It was a great pleasure for us to rehearse with HRH The Prince of Wales in preparation for his poetic tribute to his mother on her 90th birthday in 2016. We were honoured to be part of such a special moment.
“Shakespeare’s Henry VIII contains a prophecy by Archbishop Cranmer about the baby princess Elizabeth I:
She shall be, to the happiness of England,
An aged princess; many days shall see her,
And yet no day without a deed to crown it.
“Translated to our times, Elizabeth II sought the happiness of England with her steadfast service, certainly lived many days, and did a great deed on every one.”
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has released a special online exhibition at www.shakespeare.org.uk that highlights the visits the queen made to Stratford and Shakespeare’s Family homes throughout her life and reign.
A spokesperson for the Trust said: ”We are deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this time.
“Her Majesty enjoyed a close relationship with Shakespeare and Stratford-upon-Avon, visiting almost every decade in her long reign.
“She held a special place in the history of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, visiting Shakespeare’s Birthplace alongside His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh on 14 June 1957 where they were met by then Chairman of the Trust, Sir Fordham Flower, and Director, Dr Levi Fox. Her Majesty also visited Hall’s Croft on 27 June 1975 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of physician John Hall’s death, where she enjoyed a tour of the exhibition and gardens.
“We have been privileged to enjoy her warm, genuine interest in Shakespeare and to share his legacy with her on a personal level. These memories live on and will be preserved for the nation in perpetuity within our collections.”
The Trust shared a quote from King Lear, Act 5, Scene 3:
“The weight of this sad time we must obey,
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest have borne most. We that are young,
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.”
Rev Patrick Taylor, Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Stratford spoke of the Queen’s significance for those of the Anglican faith.
He said: “The sad news of the death of the Queen is of particular significance for Anglicans in Stratford as she was Supreme Governor of the Church of England. Queen Elizabeth II lived a remarkable life of service to this nation and her influence across the world has been remarkable.
“Whilst she was careful not to express her opinions to the public, the one exception has been her willingness to speak about the importance of her personal Christian faith. In 2002 she said, “I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad. Each day is a new beginning. I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God…I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”
“The Queen’s experiences as our monarch across such a span of recent history gave her a unique perspective and wisdom which was of immense value. She displayed a deep understanding of human nature and for her this meant knowing who we are in relation to God. In her Christmas speech in 2011 she said, “although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves – from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person – neither a philosopher nor a general (important though they are) – but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.”
“Elizabeth II consistently and publicly honoured the God she served and was an extraordinary example of joyful, persevering, life-affirming, generous hearted, unstinting, wise service on behalf of others. We give thanks to God for all she was and did.
“May she rest in peace and rise in glory with all the Saints.”
West Midlands Ambulance Service Trust Chair, Prof Ian Cumming said: “Her Majesty The Queen has been a part of all of our lives during her reign spanning 70 years and has had an enormous impact on our country for the past seven decades. For our staff, this is indeed a sad day and one that will make us all reflect on the extraordinary life that she has led.”
Trust Chief Executive, Anthony Marsh, added: “We are all deeply saddened to hear that Her Majesty The Queen has passed away. We join the rest of the country and people across the world in sending our condolences to the Royal Family at this time of immense and profound grief for our nation.”
Stay tuned to The Stratford Observer website throughout the day for further updates on where you can personally pay tribute to the Queen in the district.