The Archbishop of Canterbury has paid tribute to the "warm, shrewd, witty and calm" personality of the Queen as the House of Lords held a short debate to mark her Diamond Jubilee.
Rowan Williams spoke on 15 March 2012 as peers unanimously agreed to present an "humble address" to the Queen congratulating her on the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne.
He said the Queen was a central unifying force in the country at a time when national identity was more complex.
"As we become more visibly diverse, as we take on board more dimensions of history, more languages spoken in our schools, more complex discussions of equality before the law, one feature of our national life remains centrally significant," he said.
"We treasure the fact that above the shrill debates of our public life, we have in Her Majesty the Queen a personal focus for the loyalty and commitment we know we must feel towards each other as fellow citizens," Dr Williams told peers.
The archbishop paid tribute to the Queen's "attentive and sympathetic presence in so many diverse settings" both in the UK and abroad.
The motion was proposed by Leader of the Lords Lord Strathclyde and backed by Opposition leader Baroness Royall of Blaisdon, Lib Dem Lords Leader Lord McNally and convener of the crossbenchers Lord Laming.
The Queen is due to address MPs and peers in a joint speech to Parliament on Tuesday 20 March.