Prince Charles has likened the Russian invasion of Ukraine to the killing of Sir David Amess as he fulfilled the MP’s long-held wish of making his constituency town of Southend a city.
As he handed over the document which turned the Essex town into a city, he said: “What we saw in the terrible tragedy in Southend was an attack on democracy, on an open society, on freedom itself.
“We are seeing those same values under attack today in Ukraine in the most unconscionable way.
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“In the stand we take here, we are in solidarity with all those who are resisting brutal aggression.”
Tireless campaign to make Southend a city
Sir David, who held the seat of Southend West for the Conservatives from 1997, was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery in Leigh-on-Sea last October.
The 69-year-old had campaigned tirelessly to make Southend a city.
The prince said “no one could have given more” than Sir David “for the values which underpin society we share”.
“Values,” he added, which “appear all the more precious at this present time when we see, more starkly than for many years, the appalling suffering and devastation caused when the path of violence is chosen.”
The Prince of Wales, acting on behalf of the Queen, handed over the Letters Patent, which seals the change, to Southend’s mayor, Margaret Borton, at a council meeting on Tuesday.
Lady Julia Amess was given the freedom of the city on behalf of her late husband.
Charles and his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, then went to the seafront to unveil a new eco-friendly pier train named after Sir David.
Days after Sir David’s death, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that “Her Majesty has agreed that Southend will be accorded the city status it so clearly deserves”.