Special to WorldTribune.com
It was time to celebrate! The 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the throne in 1952 makes her the longest serving Monarch in British history. Thus, the grandly named Platinum Jubilee has not only dazzled the country with its Royal Pomp and circumstance, but as importantly invigorated it with its joyous celebrations of unity across the land.
In a sense the Royal Jubilee became a truly national celebration with parades, picnics, parties, and pageantry. People from all walks of life reveled in a four-day holiday of official events such as the regal trooping of the color with a parade of horse and foot regiments.
The splendid and spectacular celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II have resounded across Britain and indeed the 54 nation Commonwealth from Canada to Kenya and Singapore to South Africa.
As Queen Elizabeth proclaimed, “I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions,” adding, “I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me.”
But it’s the amazing Queen Elizabeth, now 96, who’s the star of the celebrations. She is widely admired for her enduring mantra of Service, Duty and Faith. Many commentators have said she’s the world’s most popular and influential woman.
Indeed, her commitment towards her role and duty assumed in 1952 on the death of her Father, George VI, the wartime King, has never wavered or changed. There’s a dignified quality here so rarely seen in the modern world.
Elizabeth II has been Monarch longer than the lives of most of her subjects; she has been Queen during 14 British Prime Ministers, the first being the redoubtable Winston Churchill!
Equally her reign has extended through 15 American Presidents. When she assumed the British Throne in 1952, President Harry Truman was in the White House! Her first years of reign coincided with the Eisenhower Administration.
Of course, in this modern age where history is a largely forgotten discipline, it took the Netflix series The Crown to introduce the dignified but sometimes bumpy reign of Queen Elizabeth to global audiences.
The Crown while often tinkering with historical accuracy, faithfully portrays costuming and setting, presenting a splendid tableau vivant of her years alongside her longtime husband Prince Philip and the birth of their children Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward. It equally revived the often tumultuous events inside the Royal Family.
Speaking philosophically for a moment, Queen Elizabeth II is the last of Britain’s WWII generation to be at the helm, her husband Prince Philip passed away last year at 99 years. The Queen’s eldest son Prince Charles and grandson Prince William and great grandson Prince George all stood upon the hallowed Buckingham Palace balcony underlining this continuity.
I had the pleasure of being in London for the Silver Jubilee in 1977. It was the 25th anniversary of her reign and a bubbling enthusiasm filled the streets. Yet Britain’s economy and mindset was beset by the economic doldrums underscored by strikes, inflation and industrial decline. Today an incredibly richer but increasingly gloomy Britain stands at the doors of recession.
Now amid the Jubilee splendor and pageantry there’s a serious side too. Given her age and mobility issues, the Queen was unable attend the Commemorative Thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s and she refrained from going to her beloved horse racing Derby the following day.
Still the Platinum Jubilee presented a good dose of happiness, some would say frivolity, well earned in the dour post Pandemic era. The United Kingdom took a big hit from Covid and deserves to party. It’s a marvelous morale booster steeped in tradition and ceremony both from millions of giddy revelers in London right down to the village level in England and Scotland.
At the end of a rock concert at Buckingham Palace where images of the Queen’s reign were projected on the walls, Prince Charles told the massive audience that the Jubilee had allowed the country a chance to say Thank you; “You pledged to serve your whole life, you continue to deliver. That is why we are here.”
No person reading these words will ever likely live to see another Platinum Jubilee celebrating the 70 years on the throne of a future Monarch. Back in June 1897, Queen Victoria marked her Diamond Jubilee after 60 years of rule.
Unquestionably part of the Queen’s enduring appeal both in Britain and worldwide has been her unique bridging of both history and tradition with service and modernity. The Queen later said she was “humbled and deeply touched” by the celebrations.
Throughout the Jubilee a renewed enthusiasm has become contagious.
John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues. He is the author of Divided Dynamism the Diplomacy of Separated Nations: Germany, Korea, China (2014). [See pre-2011 Archives]