This was always going to be a special year for the House of Windsor, a time to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and honour the longest reigning monarch in Britain’s history.
Seventy years in one job is impressive in any line of work; in this one it’s a moment in history which will be trumpeted in Britain and all over the Commonwealth. Following the rigours of the coronavirus pandemic and the sad loss of the Duke of Edinburgh in 2021, the UK royal calendar will be filled with ceremonies, pageantry, pomp, concerts, street parties and sensitively planned community events.
At the heart of the celebrations will be a long weekend which kicks off with the Trooping of the Colour, moved forward to Thursday, June 2nd, and culminates in a pageant the like of which has never been seen before. More than 10,000 military personnel, performers, key workers and volunteers will unite to tell the story of the seven decades of Queen Elizabeth II and a “River of Hope” made from 200 silk flags incorporating children’s messages for the future will process down The Mall flowing to Buckingham Palace.
There’s no question that at 95 going on 96, Her Majesty’s unflinching dedication to service continues and, even though she’s currently on doctor’s orders to stick to light duties, this monarch never stops working. That 21st birthday pledge from Princess Elizabeth — “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong” — has certainly held firm
Queen Elizabeth II stepped into the breach of her uncle’s potentially devastating abdication and her father’s untimely death to take the reins at the tender age of 25 and devote her life to the people. And she meant it. The personal qualities that have made The Queen such an effective monarch are “steadiness, common sense, and a high degree of courage in adversity”, says Sir William Heseltine, who is the only Australian to have worked as Her Majesty’s Private Secretary.
“I think she has succeeded very well in reasserting the close bonds between sovereign and people. Longevity has helped, in that everyone feels that they know her, and to some extent they do, because one of her outstanding qualities is that ‘what you see is what you get’.”