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Poet Laureate Simon Armitage reads his emotional tribute to Her Majesty in a heart-breaking video

The Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has read his emotional tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II, thanking her for decades of faithful service.

The ‘poem of condolence’, called the Floral Tribute, refers to the monarch who carries the land in ‘slender hands… hands that can rest, now freed from a century’s weight’.

This afternoon, the royal family shared a heartbreaking video of the poet solemnly reading the 18-line tribute, featuring photos of the thousands of flowers, Paddington Bears and marmalade sandwiches posted by mourners across the country.

As the poet reads the poem, the video, which was shared from the royal family’s Twitter account, documents photos of the Queen’s coffin, as well as photos of the Queen in her youth laid outside Buckingham Palace.

Written as a “token of thanks to the Queen,” the poem is in the form of a double acrostic, meaning the first letter of each line in both stanzas spells out Elizabeth’s name.

Poet Laureate Simon Armitage reads his emotional tribute to Her

As the poet solemnly read the heartbreaking tribute, a roll of film ran in the background of the video, including shots of Paddington Bears and flowers, which my mourners left behind across the country.

As the poet solemnly read the heartbreaking tribute, a roll of film ran in the background of the video, including shots of Paddington Bears and flowers, which my mourners left behind across the country.

As the poet solemnly read the heartbreaking tribute, a roll of film ran in the background of the video, including shots of Paddington Bears and flowers, which my mourners left behind across the country.

It begins by describing the arrival of a September evening – a reference to the month of the Queen’s death – and says that the “determined” late afternoon cannot delay nightfall.

The poet then describes a lily illuminating the darkness, saying it is a “sign of thanks.”

On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Armitage said he had tried “to be personal and write a poem of condolence, but without being intrusive”.

He also explained why he decided to use the acrostic technique to spell the late queen’s name.

The Queen chose lily of the valley as her favorite flower in 2020 after the Covid pandemic forced the Chelsea Flower Show online

The Queen chose lily of the valley as her favorite flower in 2020 after the Covid pandemic forced the Chelsea Flower Show online

The Queen chose lily of the valley as her favorite flower in 2020 after the Covid pandemic forced the Chelsea Flower Show online

The video was shared by the royal family on its Twitter page.  The heartbreaking tribute included a photo of a child laying down a rose and paying respect to the late monarch

The video was shared by the royal family on its Twitter page.  The heartbreaking tribute included a photo of a child laying down a rose and paying respect to the late monarch

The video was shared by the royal family on its Twitter page. The heartbreaking tribute included a photo of a child laying down a rose and paying respect to the late monarch

1663118607 887 Poet Laureate Simon Armitage reads his emotional tribute to Her

1663118607 887 Poet Laureate Simon Armitage reads his emotional tribute to Her

Simon Armitage said he had tried to write a poem that was “personal and wrote a poem of condolence, but without being intrusive.”

He added: “It’s a beautiful name, but one she probably rarely heard because everyone had to introduce it with ceremonial names.”

Lily of the valley was the Queen’s favorite flower and was included in her coronation bouquet in 1953. Her childhood nickname was Lilibet, and the poem also refers to lily-of-the-valley as “almost a namesake.”

The Queen chose it when the royal family shared their favorite flowers in 2020 after the pandemic forced the Chelsea Flower Show online.

Buckingham Palace said it had “special associations” with the monarch since her coronation, and the sweet-smelling flower also featured in Kate Middleton’s bridal bouquet.

Often used to symbolize trustworthiness, the woodland plant is grown on the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

In the poem, Mr Armitage refers to the Queen’s coronation and her decades of service, writing, “A promise made and fulfilled for life – that was your gift.”

He continues: ‘The land has laid all its self in your slender hands,/ Hands that can rest, now, freed from the weight of a century.’

The second stanza begins with a reference to the Queen’s death in Scotland: ‘It is evening. Rain on the black lakes and dark Munros.’

Paying tribute to her “restrained zeal and powerful grace,” it likens her to the lily of the valley and says, “It’s all about these luminous petals and deep roots.”

It ends with the suggestion that the queen’s influence will last longer than her life, as the brightness of the lily “holds and glows beyond life and the edge of her bloom.” Armitage, 59, has been a Laureate Poet since May 2019 and met the Queen once a year when she held an audience for the winner of her annual Gold Medal for Poetry.

Earlier this year, he wrote a 70-line poem, Queenhood, to mark her 70th platinum anniversary. The poet, a former probation officer, also wrote an elegy for the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, The Patriarchs.

In an interview with The Times earlier this year, he said he was “conquered by the Queen” and believed the nation needed the monarchy.