Diamond Jubilee: Queen rededicates herself to UK


Highlights of the Queen's visit to Parliament event to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee

The Queen has said she is rededicating herself to the service of the UK and its people as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.

In a speech to both Houses of Parliament, she said the commemoration of her 60 years on the throne was a chance "to come together in a spirit of neighbourliness and celebration".

The Queen also praised Prince Philip for his "constant strength".

A stained glassed window commissioned for the Jubilee was unveiled.

Hundreds of dignitaries, including Prime Minister David Cameron, his deputy Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams, assembled for the speech, which was greeted with a standing ovation.

The Queen responded to tributes made to her in both Houses of Parliament earlier this month.

'Ingenuity and tolerance'

These "humble addresses" were officially presented to her by Commons Speaker John Bercow and Lords Speaker Baroness D'Souza.

Speaking in Westminster Hall, the Queen paid tribute to the British virtues of "resilience, ingenuity and tolerance", and to the Duke of Edinburgh, whom she called her "constant strength and guide" over the decades.

This was a confident Queen who didn't court controversy.

She tried a few gags. Once they had warmed up, her audience - which included political foes forced to sit next to each other and exchange pleasantries - laughed on cue.

She paid a public tribute to the man who, privately, plays such a pivotal role in her life.

Prince Philip listened in silence - very much his role when on display these past sixty years.

Her talk of rededicating herself to the service of "our great country" will come as no great surprise - abdication is still a taboo word for the Windsors.

But it will have pained the small number of protesters seeking an elected head of state who gathered outside Westminster Hall.

Their pain will only increase in the coming months as the Diamond Jubilee is celebrated in the sixteen countries where Elizabeth is still Queen.

She said: "During these years as your Queen, the support of my family has, across the generations, been beyond measure.

"Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide."

Reflecting on the ancient setting for her address: "We are reminded here of our past, of the continuity of our national story and the virtues of resilience, ingenuity and tolerance which created it.

"I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come."

The Queen also looked back at the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, Queen Victoria, in 1897.

She said: "So, in an era when the regular, worthy rhythm of life is less eye-catching than doing something extraordinary, I am reassured that I am merely the second sovereign to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee."

Ahead of the speech, House of Commons Speaker John Bercow praised the Queen for presiding over an increase in diversity in public life during her reign, describing her as a "kaleidoscope Queen of a kaleidoscope country in a kaleidoscope Commonwealth".

'Close affinity'

The tradition of both houses of Parliament making addresses to the monarch and the sovereign replying dates back to the 16th Century.

Such events have been staged in Westminster Hall since George V's Silver Jubilee in 1935.

To mark the occasion, the Queen was presented with the specially commissioned stained glass window as a gift by members of both Houses of Parliament.

Dignitaries at Westminster Hall Past prime ministers were in Westminster Hall for the Queen's address

Consisting of up 1,500 pieces of glass, it has been paid for personally by members of both Houses and designed by British artist John Reyntiens.

In her speech, the Queen praised the "remarkable sacrifice and courage of our armed forces", adding: "Much may have indeed have changed these past 60 years but the valour of those who risk their lives for the defence and freedom of us all remains undimmed."

Members of the Royal Family have begun touring the Commonwealth to mark the Diamond Jubilee, with Prince Harry recently returning from a trip to Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica.

The Queen said: "These overseas tours are a reminder of our close affinity with the Commonwealth, encompassing about one-third of the world's population.

"My own association with the Commonwealth has taught me that the most important contact between nations is usually contact between its peoples.

"An organisation dedicated to certain values, the Commonwealth has flourished and grown by successfully promoting and protecting that contact."

Monarchy debate

A small number of anti-monarchy protesters gathered outside Parliament during the Queen's speech.

Supporters of the campaign group Republic, which wants a "democratic alternative" to the monarchy, said there needed to be a debate about whether a hereditary institution was appropriate for the country in the 21st Century.

"The role of head of state is too important simply to be chosen by an accident of birth," Labour MP Katy Clark told Radio 4's World at One.

"It should not be a hereditary position that people are entitled to. We should have a say over who it is."

Few people are accorded the honour of addressing both Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall. Among those to have done so in recent times include US President Barack Obama and Pope Benedict XVI.

The Queen addressed Parliament in 1977 and 2002 when she marked her Silver and Golden Jubilees respectively.

The Queen began her Diamond Jubilee tour of the UK in Leicester earlier this month. Celebrations will come to a head in June during a four-day series of events.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 546.

    The likes of drunken hobo are a joke , I don't know where you live but so you know this amazing lady is this countrys greatest asset ,she is a one woman tourist industry ,god bless her and long may she reign , never has this nation had a more fitting monarch ,

  • rate this

    Comment number 545.

    @351 fbscgr - you are the one whose research is "shallow" (and your condescending tone is also misplaced).

    The point being made very clearly in the post @330, if you had read it properly, is that Elizabeth I was queen of ENGLAND, not of the UK. The union of the crowns followed her death without issue in 1603.

  • rate this

    Comment number 544.

    The BBC's royal cheerleading when reporting such stories is stunning. I shouldn't think the "small" number of protesters could care less whether the Queen abdicates or not. It's not as if her abdication would mean an end to the monarchy. And I think they are far more likely to be pained by the BBC's inability to report "Jubilee Celebrations" with any degree of objectivity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 543.

    The Queen Mother also liked dressing up in Scottish outfits, pretending to be Scottish. She was very put out when Mrs Simpson laughed at it all & told Queen Mum that Balmoral all tartan decorations was in very bad taste & that when she became Queen she would do a total makeover and chuck all the kilts & bagpipes into a skip. Probably one more reason why Edward preferred abdication & Mrs Simpson

  • rate this

    Comment number 542.

    369. Total Mass Retain:

    'Monarchs after 1688 had much less power but William III, George III, Victoria stand up well.''

    George III was defeated by the US Revolutionary forces and lost the American War of Independence.

    He was also clinically insane! It runs in the German Royal family line plus years of in-breeding causes abnormal mental dysfunction & odd psychotic episodic behaviour too!

  • rate this

    Comment number 541.

    I would like her to give her lands to the people. This would be dedication to her subjects. These are totally undervalued at present and vast (although it is hard to know exactly what she owns as her supporters have consistantly attempted to keep this from the public's view).

    I also understand that over the last twenty years or so, the monarchy has been buying more land. Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 540.

    The one over-riding factor that has always caused so much misery in this country is the British Class System - and the continued existence of its monarchy is keeping that corrupt system alive. That one simple and undeniable fact is a perfectly acceptable reason for the U.K. to become a Republic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 539.

    502.Ex Tory Voter
    The monarchy are as British as you or I or more so.
    We are a mongrel nation from all corners of the world.
    The royal family are part of the tradition that makes the British cultural identity that you would destroy.
    I assume you want us to be the same as Europe or part of the United States of Europe. That would be the next step in removing Britain from the map.

  • rate this

    Comment number 538.

    As usual the BBC is monitoring and limiting the text to a short paragraph
    Also, it only allows one to comment on articles that it selects, and not any article on the site. Unlike most UK newspapers that allow free expression.
    The Queen and her parasitic offsping have no place in the modern world

  • rate this

    Comment number 537.

    the monarchy are pointless. the stand for much of what is wrong in the UK. they have done nothing whatsoever for me or anyone i know. like i said. pointless. and expensive.

  • rate this

    Comment number 536.

    Johngie 426 - Are you real 7.5 million she probably spends that on booze . The monarchy cost us billions - food travel homes hotels weddings functions repairs, security - the list is endless and WE pay. Old people cant afford to live or keep warm and we keep these parasites in luxury. Get rid.

  • Comment number 535.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 534.

    It really doesn't matter what the republicans post here because they represent an insignificant minority of the UK's total population.

    They can chuck their toys around on this site all they like but it will do them no good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 533.

    You can definitely tell who the atheists are in these comments. God bless you all, and may you come to know Jesus soon.

    God save the queen.

  • rate this

    Comment number 532.

    "490.Eddy from Waring
    It's common documented history, Domesday Book "

    Yep, bar a few quislings, the *entire* Anglo-Saxon nobility was eradicated, usually terminally. Lands were handed out to William's cronies, and as we were a serfdom at the time, that includes everything down to individual houses. Hence 'pig' (Saxon), 'pork' (Norman) and the Class system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 531.

    Traitors gate and the Tower of London- used to fulfil a wonderful purpose. Calum Mckay and David Horton - think on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 530.


    "...Sorry mate but you are a little nieve. At no time in past history did the "common man" hold the land..."


    Before the Norman Conquest in 1066, Anglo-Saxon land law was based on allodial title. Tribal lands were held permanently by the group as a whole.

    Source: any decent land law textbook, Wiki if you like.

  • rate this

    Comment number 529.

    Interesting how those who accuse the monarchy of being unpopular are getting the lowest ratings. I say hooray for irony!

  • rate this

    Comment number 528.

    The daft thing is that the rest of the world seems to love our Royal Family as so many on our own shores don't.

    I for one am happy we have an impartial, non-political monarch reigning over us, and those Republicans who think they know better should have a look at what an almighty mess politicians make of things.

    Our Queen is a hell of a tourist attraction too, unlike our Prime Minister.

  • rate this

    Comment number 527.

    The Monarchy in Britain today is descended from German stock not British"

    All the European Royal House, including the British one, have documented lines of descent from Charlemagne, William the Conqueror and Alfred the Great. Most of Europe is descended from the first of these, but the key difference is the word "documented".


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