It was an honour to serve her for 36 years and nothing made a British diplomat prouder than to serve their Diplomat in Chief - Welsh

It was an honour to serve her for 36 years and nothing made a British diplomat prouder than to serve their Diplomat in Chief - Welsh

By Krishneel Nair
Friday 16/09/2022
Acting British High Commissioner to Fiji Paul Welsh and his wife Jessica Welsh

It was an honour to serve her in her Diplomatic Service for 36 years and nothing makes a British diplomat prouder than to serve their Diplomat in Chief, the irreplaceable Queen Elizabeth II.

This was stated by the Acting British High Commissioner to Fiji, Paul Welsh who says her Majesty was the embodiment of grace, charm and dignity.

While speaking during the Queen’s remembrance service at the Anglican Cathedral in Suva, Welsh says her Majesty once famously said grief is the price we pay for love.

Welsh says her Majesty visited Fiji on six occasions, the first being on her Coronation Tour in 1953 and her final visit being in 1982.

He says her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne at the age of 25 in 1952.

Welsh also says for over 70 years she served the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth with devotion and dedication.

He also says her Majesty touched the hearts and lives of millions of people across the world and no words can fully describe the extent of the nation’s loss.

He says the Queen was a constant throughout our lives providing stable and dedicated leadership.

He adds she was a role model of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Welsh says he vividly remembers the celebrations and street parties in 1977 to mark Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee.

He further says he thinks of her drinking a bilo of Kava during her coronation tour in 1953, receiving a bouquet of flowers from a young Adi Kainona in 1963 and arriving in Suva Harbour on the Royal Yacht Britannia during her Silver Jubilee Tour in 1977.

The Acting High Commissioner says the Queen always had a smile on her face when in Fiji as she enjoyed the warmth of Fijian hospitality and the smiley Bula spirit.

He says he has had conversations this week with Fijians who were fortunate enough to meet Her Majesty on several occasions.

The Acting High Commissioner adds they recounted to him how she always remembered the details of her trips to Fiji and always referred to Fijians that she knew on first name terms.

He says there have been many messages, cards and floral tributes including some very special and moving tributes by schoolchildren.

Welsh says as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Her Majesty was inspired and strengthened by her faith, she relied on her faith to guide her through good times and bad.

He says they at the British High Commission have been touched by the warmth of the Fijians’ condolences.

President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere and the First Lady, Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau and his wife Adi Koila Nailatikau, Health Minister Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete, Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho, former Prime Minister and People’s Alliance leader Sitiveni Rabuka were some of the people that were in attendance at the remembrance service.

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