Nicola Sturgeon in tribute to the Queen ahead of Platinum Jubilee celebrations

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has congratulated the Queen on a “lifetime of service” ahead of her Platinum Jubilee.

Ms Sturgeon led a parliamentary tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who is due to celebrate 70 years of reign from tomorrow.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister said the Queen had played an “integral role” in the story of modern Scotland and said it was no surprise the occasion was to be celebrated so widely.

And she urged all Scots to mark Her Majesty’s “values of integrity, wisdom, justice and compassion” – regardless of their views on the institution of the British monarchy.

Royal visit to Scotland
Queen Elizabeth II has often appeared at the Scottish Parliament to mark the opening of a new session (Andrew Milligan/PA)

She said: “It is of course the case that there are, and always have been different views in our country, indeed in this chamber, about the institution of the monarchy, and the democratic right to express those views is always to be celebrated.

“But this occasion of the Platinum Jubilee is not just about an institution. It is above all about the life and service of an extraordinary woman, someone who had no more choice than any of us do about the circumstances into which she was born- but someone who has given a lifetime of dedicated service.

“We should all pay tribute to that.

“And so it is absolutely right that we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

“Let us congratulate her warmly or a reign of unprecedented length and let us acknowledge with deep gratitude and respect her dedication to duty.”

Ms Sturgeon told MSPs that beacons will be lit across the country tomorrow night and a national thanksgiving service will be held at Glasgow Cathedral on Sunday, in addition to the many community lunches and street parties planned for the weekend.

In honour of her service, the Queen will be presented with a limited edition Johnnie Walker whisky, with a special design to celebrate the beauty of Scotland’s plants and wildlife, and a throw made of tartan commissioned in honour of the three bridges across the Forth.

A ‘Jubilee Wood’ of 70 native trees is also planned for Holyrood Park, in Edinburgh, which Ms Sturgeon said was a “historically appropriate” gesture as the Queen’s first duty in Scotland following her accession to the throne had been to plant a cherry tree that still stands by the entrance to the Canongate Kirk.

The First Minister also said it had been a privilege to spend time with the Queen “privately” over the years, where she benefited from her wisdom and “unique perspective” on modern history.

She will also be attending a number of events in London to mark the Jubilee, including the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, June 3, and the Platinum Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross also paid tribute to the Queen, who he said he been a “constant presence during times of adversity and triumph”.

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