There was visible shock among politicians yesterday as one of Jersey’s most important symbols of its relationship with the Crown was covered in a black shroud – something that has not happened for seven decades.
Carried before the Bailiff and then placed upright before his seat in the Chamber at Friday's special States Assembly sitting to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Mace was given to island in 1663 by King Charles II in gratitude for its loyalty during the Civil War.
In a speech, Constable Simon Crowcroft described the arrival of the Royal Mace in its shroud as "particularly shocking and brought home for me very powerfully the solemnity of this occasion."
Video: The cloaked Royal Mace is carried into the States Chamber.
The sitting opened at 15:00 with a roll call and prayers.
At 15:05, a canon was fired from the Fort Regent Ramparts and a hush descended on the Chamber, as a one-minute silence in memory of Her Majesty begun. The reflection was broken by a second canon round at 15:06.
Pictured: A canon was fired from the Fort Regent Rampers to mark the beginning and end of the minute's silence. (Max Le Feuvre)
The sitting then officially began with a short speech by the Bailiff and Acting Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Timothy Le Cocq, Chief Minister Kristina Moore stood to pay tribute to Her Majesty on behalf of the Government.
Deputy Moore emphasised the 1,000-year-old relationship between the island and ‘La Reine, Notre Duc’, which is the title which the Monarch holds in the Channel Islands, being as they were part of the Duchy of Normandy in 1066.
The Deputy also praised the late sovereign as a modern Queen. “She embraced and managed change in a manner we can all learn from,” she said.
Pictures: Many Members rose to make eloquent, heartfelt and poignant speeches.
Next, Chair of the Privileges and Procedures Committee, Constable Karen Shenton-Stone, made an emotional speech which highlighted how Her Majesty had been a feminist icon, and how wise and steadfast she had been.
She also referred to a painting in the States Chamber depicting the Queen’s visit there in 1977, in which the Constable’s late father, Dick Shenton, features. She said the painting was a source of strength to her, which she often turned to for strength and inspiration before having to give an important speech.
Various States Members spoke on behalf on groups or interests they represent:
Assistant Chief Minister Lucy Stephenson on behalf of sport,
Deputy Raluca Kovacs for the Romanian community in Jersey,
Home Affairs Minister Helen Miles for uniformed services, the Dean,
the Very Rev Mike Keirle on behalf of faith communities,
Education Minister on behalf of young people in Jersey, and
a number of Constables on behalf of their parishes.
Many speeches were eloquent, heartfelt, sometimes amusing, relevant and moving.
At the end of the sitting, Members voted to postpone next week’s meeting by a week to Tuesday 20 September. Items on that agenda include the Government’s mini-budget and raising the Minimum Wage.
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