The Daily Telegraph

She was rock that Britain was built on, says PM who kissed hands two days ago

On the steps of Downing Street, Liz Truss issues moving tribute to Her Majesty and calls on country to rally around the King

- By Robert Mendick Chief Reporter

‘Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her’

‘With the King’s family, we mourn the loss of his mother. And as we mourn, we must come together as a people to support him’

LIZ TRUSS last night praised Queen Elizabeth II as the “rock on which modern Britain was built”, just 48 hours after Her Majesty had appointed her as her 15th prime minister.

Standing for a second time in two days on the steps of Downing Street, Ms Truss again addressed the nation, this time to hail the monarch as the “very spirit of Great Britain”.

She spoke of the nation’s devastatin­g loss, and said the death was “a huge shock to the nation and to the world”.

In a moving tribute, she said: “Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built. Our country has grown and flourished under her reign. Britain is the great country it is today because of her.”

The Prime Minister praised her “dignity and grace” and said that “in return she was loved and admired by the people in the United Kingdom and all around the world”.

Queen Elizabeth II “leaves a great legacy”, said Ms Truss, but she stressed that the monarchy would continue, and urged the nation to rally around King Charles III.

“With the King’s family, we mourn the loss of his mother,” said Ms Truss. “And as we mourn, we must come together as a people to support him. To help him bear the awesome responsibi­lity that he now carries for us all. We offer him our loyalty and devotion just as his mother devoted so much to so many for so long.

“And with the passing of the second Elizabetha­n age, we usher in a new era in the magnificen­t history of our great country – exactly as Her Majesty would have wished – by saying the words … God save the King.”

The House of Commons will sit at noon today for MPS to pay tribute to the Queen in a session due to last until 10pm. There will also be a rare Saturday sitting, where senior MPS will take the oath to King Charles III from 2pm, with tributes continuing again until 10pm.

Yesterday marked a dramatic, historic day in Westminste­r. It had begun with Ms Truss unveiling plans to tackle the energy crisis gripping the nation.

But as she sat down, having made her much anticipate­d statement on a household bailout and a promise to end the UK’S “short-termist” approach to energy, the Royal household was informing Downing Street that Her Majesty was gravely ill in Balmoral.

At noon, the national focus had been on Ms Truss’s energy policy; by early afternoon the world’s attention had turned to events in Scotland.

The first inkling of the gravity of the situation came during the Westminste­r debate.

Just as Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, was calling for an alternativ­e windfall tax on the big oil and gas companies, across the chamber floor Nadhim Zahawi, the newly installed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, strode into the Commons, with a note bearing dire news.

Mr Zahawi squeezed between the Conservati­ve front bench and the despatch box and took up a seat beside Ms Truss, forcing Kwasi Kwarteng, her Chancellor, to shuffle aside.

It was just gone noon, seven minutes past 12 to be precise, and Mr Zahawi began whispering in Ms Truss’s ear, providing her with what onlookers described as “an animated briefing”.

Mr Zahawi then handed her the note folded neatly into a square. “Something odd is going on in the Commons,” Chris Bryant, the senior Labour MP, posted on Twitter in the moments afterwards, adding: “Zahawi briefing PM urgently.”

Ms Truss read the note and tucked it into her folder on her lap.

Sir Keir was accusing the new Conservati­ve administra­tion, not more than 48 hours old, of wanting to protect “the excess profits” of oil and gas companies, while Ms Truss was trying to digest the news contained in the note just put in front of her.

The note’s precise contents are unclear but it contained the saddest of news. Her Majesty The Queen, aged 96 and after 70 years on the throne, had become seriously ill while in residence in Balmoral.

Only on Tuesday, the Queen had

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