Sadiq Khan recalls childhood memories of Silver Jubilee paper hats and flags as he pays tribute to the Queen

·2-min read

Sadiq Khan recalled a childhood memory of celebrating the Queen’s Silver Jubilee as he paid tribute to the late sovereign’s role as a “great unifier”.

The mayor led tributes at City Hall on Tuesday to the Queen, describing her ability to “transcend” divisions in society. He said she was a “shining force that bound us all together”.

Mr Khan, 51, would have been six when the Queen’s 25 years on the throne were celebrated during the summer of 1977. As a Privy Counsellor, he attended the accession council at St James’ Palace on Saturday.

An early morning rehearsal for the procession of Queen Elizabeth’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, London, where it will lie in state until her funeral on Monday. (PA)
An early morning rehearsal for the procession of Queen Elizabeth’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, London, where it will lie in state until her funeral on Monday. (PA)

He told a remembrance meeting with the London Assembly: “One of my fondest childhood memories was lining the streets with fellow Londoners as her Silver Jubilee procession wound its way past our estate in Tooting.

“I was there with family, friends and neighbours. And there are pictures of us – me, and my brothers and sister – waiting eagerly by the roadside, beaming from ear to ear, Union Jack flags in hand, and paper crowns on our heads.

“I’ll never forget the excitement of that day. Nor will I forget the joyous atmosphere and the way those celebrations brought people together.”

Mayor Sadiq Khan, a member of the Privy Council, at the Accession Council for King Charles III at St James’s Palace (PA)
Mayor Sadiq Khan, a member of the Privy Council, at the Accession Council for King Charles III at St James’s Palace (PA)

He said the Queen offered continuity and a “calm, understated leadership” during decades of change. Her good humour and humility “made her not just a modern monarch, but a great unifier”, he said.

He said her public service and sense of duty showed the way for the country to go forward.

Mr Khan said of King Charles: “I have every faith he will follow the golden example set by his mother. Long live King Charles III.”

The mayor is involved in preparing London for a massive influx of visitors, with a million expected to attend the laying-in-state or the Queen’s funeral next Monday.

Transport for London said that Tube journeys on Sunday were up 10 per cent on a week earlier and were largely concentrated in central London.

Green Park station had to be closed due to overcrowding on both days. More than 86,000 passengers used it on Saturday.

On Sunday, St James’ Park station was 156 per cent busier than the previous Sunday, while Hyde Park Corner was up 140 per cent in terms of passenger numbers.

TfL has warned that Westminster, Charing Cross, Embankment, Victoria, Waterloo, Lancaster Gate and Marble Arch stations are also all expected to be very busy.

The Elizabeth line will run on Sunday between Paddington and Abbey Wood, for the first time since the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend.