Marking the Platinum Jubilee of the CPA Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
As Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II marks her Platinum Jubilee, this blog article looks at her role as the Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and her remarkable achievements over 70 years.
The CPA also delves into its archives to reveal how the Association marked the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, one of over 600 Patronages that she has as sovereign as well as Head of the Commonwealth.
Queen Elizabeth II has supported the organisation since her accession to the throne in 1952 and later became the Patron of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association in 1989, when the role was first established along with that of Vice-Patron. The CPA Vice-Patron is usually the head of state or head of government of the CPA Branch who will host the next Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference.
The Queen has enjoyed a close relationship with the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association over the years and has visited almost every Parliament in the Commonwealth during her long reign. Founded in 1911, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is a membership of 180 Commonwealth Parliaments at national, state, provincial and territorial level with around 17,000 Parliamentarians and parliamentary staff across nine Regions and 54 countries.
One of her earliest meetings with the Association was in 1953 when The Queen attended a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Coronation luncheon in Westminster Hall attended by representatives of many Commonwealth Parliaments. As CPA Patron, The Queen opened the 46th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in 2000 in London, UK and she keeps in regular contact with Parliaments across the Commonwealth, especially in those jurisdictions where she is the head of state.
The Queen recently congratulated the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association on its 110th anniversary in 2021 and, as CPA Patron, her letter of congratulations was included in the newly published CPA book showcasing photographs of over 180 Parliament buildings around the Commonwealth and giving an insight into their varied histories.
The following Motion in relation to the Platinum Jubilee of the CPA Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was agreed by the CPA Executive Committee at their Mid-Year meeting on 10 April 2022 on behalf of the Association:
“The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association extends our sincere congratulations on behalf of our membership of 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures to the CPA Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee and this historic milestone of her 70 years of service to the Commonwealth.”
The CPA Secretary-General, Stephen Twigg added:
“On behalf of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the entire CPA membership, we offer our congratulations to our Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee. As CPA Patron, Her Majesty is a tireless supporter of the work of Commonwealth Parliaments and Parliamentarians.”
From the CPA archives
To mark the Platinum Jubilee of the CPA Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the CPA Headquarters has delved into its archives to look at a special event held by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association early in the Queen’s reign.
Above: This commemorative book from 1953 documents the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Luncheon in Westminster Hall at the UK Parliament on 27 May 1953 (image copyright CPA Headquarters).
Six days before her Coronation on 27 May 1953, Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, attended a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Luncheon in Westminster Hall at the UK Parliament. The Luncheon was held so that the many visiting Speakers and Members of Parliament could meet The Queen while they were in London to attend the Coronation and the various associated ceremonies.
The official luncheon followed an earlier event held by the-then Empire Parliamentary Association in 1937, also in Westminster Hall, for the Coronation of The Queen’s father, King George VI.
Above: The 1937 Coronation lunch hosted by the-then Empire Parliamentary Association attended by King George VI is documented in an earlier book published in 1937 (image copyright CPA Headquarters).
The 1953 Coronation Luncheon was attended by over 750 guests, mainly Members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association with 300 attendees from Commonwealth Parliaments outside of the United Kingdom. Members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association attended from a number of CPA Branches including Australia (with a representative from South Australia also attending), Sri Lanka, United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Canada (including a Provincial representative from Manitoba), Pakistan, Malta, Kenya, Ghana, Bermuda, Barbados and Malaysia.
The Chairman of the General Council, Rt Hon. Harold Holt, MP from Australia greeted The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, together with the CPA Secretary-General, Sir Howard d’Egville.
It was noted that the menu for the Coronation Luncheon represented the CPA’s membership across the Commonwealth with lamb from the CPA New Zealand Branch, pineapples from the CPA Sri Lanka Branch (then Ceylon), maple syrup from the CPA Canada Branch, wines from the CPA Australia and CPA South Africa Branches, coffee from the CPA Kenya Branch, and finally, the cigars from the CPA Jamaica Branch.
Speeches were given by the Chairman of the General Council, Rt Hon. Harold Holt, MP (Australia) and the Vice-Chairman of the General Council, Hon. Sir John Kotelawala, KBE, MP (Sri Lanka).
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Vice-President of the CPA UK Branch, Rt Hon. Sir Winston Churchill, MP spoke of his service to The Queen’s great-grandfather, grandfather and father over successive generations and of the links between the Crown and Parliament.
The Prime Minister of Canada and Vice-President of the CPA Canada Branch, Rt Hon. Louis S. St Laurent, QC, MP spoke of the unifying forces that bring together the Parliaments of the Commonwealth and the key role that the sovereign plays.
Above: A photograph published in the 1953 commemorative book shows Queen Elizabeth II addressing Members of Parliament at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Luncheon in Westminster Hall (image copyright CPA Headquarters).
The Queen replied saying:
“On the eve of his own Coronation, sixteen years ago, my dear father also met in Westminster Hall those who represent the Legislatures of the Commonwealth. I am indeed glad to follow his example. It is a stirring thought that all these Legislatures are descended from the assembly which first met under this roof nearly seven centuries ago. We stand here in the Palace of Westminster, which is the home of the Mother of Parliaments.
Of the many ties linking this family of nations not the least is that system of Parliamentary government which is common to us all. To this great Association I offer my best wishes for the success of their coming deliberations. I hope that all of you whose homes are overseas will have a very happy and enjoyable stay in this country.”
To view the commemorative book of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Luncheon held on 27 May 1953 in Westminster Hall from the CPA archives – containing the names of attendees and transcripts of speeches from the event - please click here.
These materials and images from the CPA archives are shared for the benefit of CPA Branches and all copyright should be acknowledged as © Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, 1953 and 1937 respectively.
Jeffrey Hyland is the Editor of The Parliamentarian, the CPA’s Journal of Commonwealth Parliaments.
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