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The Queen: Britain’s longest-reigning monarch as of today

The Queen: Britain’s longest-reigning monarch as of today

“A rock of stability in a changing world” is how British Prime Minister David Cameron describes Queen Elizabeth II today, as she celebrates 63 years serving as Queen, longer than any other British monarch in history. In The Telegraph:

She will reflect on what she acknowledges as “a remarkable life”, though for her the occasion will be tinged with sadness because it is “a record she would rather not have had”. Her record-breaking reign was only possible because her father George VI died at the age of just 56.

While “the Queen had wanted to spend the day privately at Balmoral, as she does not regard outliving her ancestor [her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria] as a day for celebration,” she “has bowed to public demand by agreeing to open the Scottish Borders Railway, on which she will travel from Edinburgh to Tweedbank, near Galashiels.”

Other celebrations:

The occasion will be celebrated by church bells ringing out across the country and a flotilla of boats processing down the River Thames behind the royal rowbarge Gloriana, recalling the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant in 2012. Tower Bridge will be lifted as a mark of respect and, as the procession passes HMS Belfast, a four-gun salute will sound out.

The BT Tower in London will carry the scrolling message “Long May She Reign” and the former Royal Yacht, Britannia, now a privately-owned tourist attraction in Edinburgh, will be the centre of the fireworks display in the evening.

The Army will exercise a “dignified restraint” in its own celebration of its commander-in-chief’s achievement, with a drumhead service in Bury St Edmunds, and the Band of the Coldstream Guards playing a specially-composed piece of music in London.

By the numbers: According to the Telegraph, over the Queen’s 63 years, she has worked with 12 prime ministers, visited 116 countries, given 56 televised Christmas messages, launched 23 ships, sent 380,000 telegrams and owned 30 Corgies.

From the New York Times coverage:

The first Queen Elizabeth gave her name to an age, as did Victoria, in an ever more powerful kingdom. But that is not going to be the legacy of this Elizabeth, who has reigned over Britain’s long transition from empire to Commonwealth, from world power to relative international insignificance.

The historian David Cannadine said Queen Elizabeth’s legacy would feature both transition and decline — the change of British society into “a much more fluid, multicultural, more secular society,” and “the downsizing of the British Empire into the British Commonwealth, the downsizing of Britain as a great power.”

NYT adds a little more backstory to the numbers above:

Her reign has included 12 British prime ministers, seven archbishops of Canterbury and seven popes. One of the prime ministers, John Major, called her “an absolute constant, that is very reassuring.”

In his memoir, Tony Blair recounted his first meeting with her as prime minister: “You are my 10th prime minister,” the queen told him. “The first was Winston. That was before you were born.”

Cafe contributing editor Father Andrew Gerns observes that Queen Elizabeth II also becomes “the longest
serving head of a major religious body in the world. Which means that the person in this role is both a woman and a lay person.”




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Carolyn Peet

I am astonished at how she is equally beautiful in both of the photos posted above.

Highly recommend the movie, “The King’s Speech”. Great movie about her father dealing with his stuttering speech impediment.

Rev Dr. Ellen M Barrett

Dennis is entirely wrong. I look forward to becoming a UK citizen in a few years…the word ‘subject’ is no longer used. He is also ill informed if he thinks that only the most-dyed in the wool Tories and UKIP extremists honour Her Majesty.
As has been noted, the Queen is a voluntary taxpayer, which is a great deal more than can be said for a number of businessmen and politicians the world over who pay a lower percentage of tax than their secretaries as Warren Buffett has so aptly said. Her finances are a matter of public record, and her home, unlike that of the President of the United States (or indeed many of our own) has not been refurbished and redecorated since the 1950s.
Furthermore, she has been a devoted servant and ambassador to the world for her people through good times and bad, living up to the solemn vow of service she made some 68 years ago. She has been above the political fray, and is greatly respected even by those for whom the monarchy is archaic. A brief glance through a serious history will show that while the monarchy has had a chequered past, no country’s rulers are above reproach nor is any form of government. It will also show that Queen Elizabeth II is and has been an exemplary constitutional monarch while remaining a kind and witty woman with a caring heart as well as being a superb role model to her heirs in post.
God save our gracious Queen!

Sr Alison Joy OSB

I remember watching the Coronation as a small child on a TV my father built. The Queen has held to her vow she made at 21 to serve the country and the people to the best of her ability. Whilst I realise that a number of people are not in favour of the monarchy I should like to respond to the gentleman regarding the Queen’s finances and to say that since 1992 the Queen has voluntarily paid income tax the same as any other person, she employs a vast number of people and is liable for other taxes also. I am by no means a traditionalist but am rather more interested that arguements be based on truth.

Gwendolyn Stube

I remember, as a small child, having a coloring book about her wedding, also seeing her coronation on someone else’s TV. I became immediately in love with her…..named all my dolls “Elizabeth” and one of my daughters. We all have a roll to play in this life and are expected to live it to the best of our ability. She has my admiration for doing just that!

Dennis Roberts

A regressive monument to privilege based on the accidents of birth. A living anachronism whose current unearned status lends respectability to the tyranical actions of her ancestors. A huge cost to British taxpayers (“subjects,” not citizens, who must pay for the privilege of supporting her and her family) and the target of a rather bizarre fascination by many Americans. And, if one considers the recent revelations from freedom of information requests by British newspapers, a frequent dabbler in politics in opposition to the democratic process.

Let the right-wing English tabloids praise her; they have an agenda. But the heart of and foundation of being an American is a rejection of the institution of monarchy. Life isn’t a fantasy Downtown Abbey episode, quit fawning over Elizabeth Windsor and her grifter family.

Geoff McLarney

Well, someone had to rehearse the usual republican tropes. Thanks for relieving the rest of us of the task …

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