On the occasion of the address by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, at the 105th Plenary of the General Assembly.
New York, 6 July 2010
Your Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of all Member States of the United Nations, let me extend our warmest welcome to Your Majesty on your first visit to the United Nations since 1957. We are delighted to have you here with us on this momentous occasion and we are honoured to hear you address the General Assembly today. As Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other countries and as head of the Commonwealth of Nations with 54 member countries, you represent over two billion people from Asia and the Pacific to Africa, and from the Americas and the Caribbean to the British Isles. Your Majesty embodies the globalised world and shared humanity which also defines the United Nations and gives it purpose.
When you last spoke to the United Nations fifty three years ago, the world was rebuilding from a devastating world war. Cold war tensions and nuclear annihilation threatened the existence of all humanity. Equality and non-discrimination were still unrealised and women were expected to stay at home. Since that occasion, you presided over a remarkable global transformation which saw the birth of a multitude of independent nation states based on the principles of equal rights and the self-determination of all peoples as enshrined in the UN Charter.
Now we have a world where upheaval and change are normal and the pace of change has quickened. While there has been unprecedented economic prosperity, still yet the world is blighted by extreme levels of inequality with billions living in absolute poverty. Natural disasters occur more frequently with greater devastation, while new threats and pressures have also emerged. When these disasters and tragedies make us confront our human frailty, you have lifted the spirits of those in shock, letting them know that they are not alone in their suffering. And in times of horror from acts of terrorism, your words of comfort and your steadfast presence in the face of uncertainty have brought solace and reassurance.
At the United Nations, we are focused on making the world a better place, to stand for justice and for peace, to relieve suffering and to help the poor lift themselves out of poverty. Many times, we come up short and do not live up to our commitments or meet the expectations that are laid upon us. But through your sense of duty and tireless public service you have demonstrated to those of us at the United Nations that we must not waver from our purpose and must remain steadfast in our will and determination because the poor, the disadvantaged and the weak do not have the luxury of our failure. This is our ideal and we must live up to it.I wish to thank Your Majesty for gracing the General Assembly with your presence today. We wish you continued good health, peace and harmony. A warm welcome is always extended to your Majesty to visit the United Nations General Assembly at any time.