Today Her Majesty the Queen celebrates the most happy and joyous occasion of the 60th anniversary of her accession to the Throne. Echoing the pledge she made as a young princess back in 1947 to dedicate her life to the service of her people, she has issued a statement to the nation to mark the occasion:
"I am writing to thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to me and Prince Philip over these years and to tell you how deeply moved we have been to receive so many kind messages about the Diamond Jubilee.
"In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness, examples of which I have been fortunate to see throughout my reign and which my family and I look forward to seeing in many forms as we travel throughout the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth.
"My sincere good wishes to you all
For the Queen, this is a day tinged with some sadness as it also marks the anniversary of the death of her father, King George VI, who, 60 years ago, put his hand into the Hand of God and trod safely into the unknown. The cry ‘The King is dead. Long live the Queen!’ is both brutal in its insensitivity and joyous in its benevolence. It represents monarchical continuity, whence flow stability, security and peace.
Queen Elizabeth II becomes today only the second monarch of the Britannic Isles to achieve this quite remarkable milestone, which historians and future generations will doubtless view as the zenith of the second Elizabethan era. The whole United Kingdom along with the other 15 nations over which the Queen reigns, not to mention the other 38 Commonwealth countries and much of the rest of the world, will hold celebrations over the coming months, culminating on the weekend of 2-5 June (DV), with street parties, services of thanksgiving, fireworks, medals and coins minted, a concert at Buckingham Palace, a pageant at Windsor Castle, a nationwide chain of jubilee beacons and, for the first time since the 18th century, a Royal Barge will transport the Monarch along the Thames in one of the largest flotillas ever assembled. It will be the jewel in the crown of one of the most spectacular events in Britain's history.I'll be watching the festivities on television and on-line. I only wish I could be in our old village to enjoy the celebration. It will be fun - knowing the folks there, I am sure there will be lots of fun!