Great Britain and its Commonwealth nations just celebrated the sixtieth reigning year of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. While her sovereign power over part of our world makes her a woman of great significance, Her Royal Majesty is very special in other ways as well. Her history is unique and technological advances of recent generations have helped the world know her life more than any other British monarch.
In Britain’s history, only one other monarch saw over sixty years on the throne. That was Queen Victoria, Her Royal Majesty’s great great grandmother, who reigned in the mid 1800’s. Queen Elizabeth was the firstborn to King George V and Queen Elizabeth I on April 21, 1926. Four years later, her sister, Princess Margaret Rose was born. They were both homeschooled by their mother. Queen Elizabeth was not expected to take the throne. Her uncle Prince Edward VIII: Prince of Whales, who was originally in front of her in the line to the throne, had abdicated and she became the “heir presumptive” in 1936. In preparation for her royal role, she studied Constitutional history, law and French. Her father died in 1952, which called Her Royal Majesty to ascend the throne at the age of twenty-five. Her coronation took place the next year, and was the first to be broadcast by television. It is thought that millions tuned in to watch the event.
In 1947, Her Royal Majesty married Prince Phillip Mountbatten; who then was the prince of Greece and Denmark and now the Duke of Edinburg. Quite unlike the Royal Wedding which the world witnessed last year, hers was relatively modest as the aftermath of World War Two had financially devastated the country. She collected clothing coupons to get the material for her wedding dress, and the royal couple honeymooned in Broadlands, Hampshire of England and Birkhall, Balmoral of Scotland. Currently, Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburg have four children, eight grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Her most well-known offspring are her son, Prince Charles: the Prince of Whales and the next heir to the throne, and his sons Prince William: Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry of Whales. See here for a more detailed list of the royal family.
The queen’s political responsibilities involve Her Royal Majesty acting as a head of state and the head of the nation. As Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II is responsible for constitutional acts, such as overseeing the opening of Parliament, approving Orders in Council, signing acts of Parliament, and meeting weekly with the Prime Minister. The Queen represents Britain when making visits overseas, and when receiving foreign ambassadors, visiting heads of state, and other government figures. As head of state, she represents the national identity, unity, and pride of Britain. Her main responsibility as Queen is to give honors and awards to those who make significant contributions to the country. Her most active role is meeting her people. One way she does this is by throwing a garden party every year at Buckingham Palace for people all over the country in all parts of life.
Perhaps the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is named so to parallel the cliché “diamond in the rough”. Sixty years on the throne is certainly a rarity to England’s history and culture. World culture has been affected as well as Queen Elizabeth’s rise to the throne was less than anticipated, her life experiences have been quite unlike any other, and today’s media has drawn massive popularity to her life and the lives of her family. May her reign continue to be victorious, happy, gracious, and long! God Save the Queen!