MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6: The Conservative-leaning Daily Telegraph in the UK describes the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this way: “As we prepare to mark the Queen’s accession, 60 years ago next week, we celebrate the common values that link our monarch to her legendary predecessor—duty, strength, constancy.”
Care to read more from the Telegraph’s voluminous coverage? Visit the Telegraph’s special Jubilee portal.
On this date in 1952, 24-year-old Elizabeth—following the death of her father, King George VI—took over as Head of the Commonwealth.
The BBC archives provide much more.
At this point, the Queen is the longest-lived and second-longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom after Queen Victoria who carried on for 63 years and seven months. Queen Elizabeth II also is the second-longest-serving current head of state in the world after the king of Thailand. (Wonder how Queen Victoria celebrated her Diamond Jubilee? The Daily Mail reports on what happened in 1897.)
Events celebrating this milestone will continue throughout the year. Planning a trip overseas this summer? You’ll find Jubilee events continuing into the tourist season. That’s because of the lengthy process of succession in 1952. Elizabeth received word of her father’s death while she was on a tour and she took to the throne immediately. The official coronation didn’t take place until June 2. This year, June 2-5 will be the official Diamond Jubilee Weekend in Britain.
A TYPICAL DAY FOR QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Queen Elizabeth II begins by reading British newspapers and answering a few of the hundreds of letters she receives each day. After a series of meetings with anyone from a head of state to a literary award recipient, the queen may present honors to those recently awarded a medal or decoration. Following a solo lunch, Elizabeth II often travels for public engagements. Approximately 430 engagements per year can include the unveiling of plaques; visitations to schools, hospitals, art galleries, shelters and military units; community meetings; and lengthier travels. Evening occasionally brings a visit with the Prime Minister; attendance at a film premiere, concert or charitable event; or the hosting of an official reception at the Buckingham Palace. Phew! What a schedule!
THE DIAMOND JUBILEE PRAYER SHARED WORLDWIDE
The Church of England has issued a prayer written especially for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which will be used at the Jubilee Thanksgiving Service on June 5 and is recommended for use throughout the Church of England. On the Jubilee Weekend, thousands of beacons will be lit through the UK and Commonwealth, and a carriage procession will line the streets of London. (Get more information from the official website of The British Monarchy.)
THE OFFICIAL JUBILEE PRAYER:
God of time and eternity,
Whose Son reigns as servant, not master;
We give you thanks and praise
That you have blessed this nation, the realms and territories with Elizabeth,
Our beloved and glorious Queen.
In this year of Jubilee,
Grant her your gifts of love and joy and peace
As she continues in faithful obedience to you, her Lord and God,
And in devoted service to her lands and peoples,
And those of the Commonwealth,
Now and all the days of her life;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
ROYALS JOIN IN THE CELEBRATION
Camilla, the duchess of Cornwall, recently began a Cook for the Queen competition for children in the UK as part of her Jubilee gift, asking children to capture the best of Britain in food. Even Prince William and Duchess Catherine announced their plans to delay having a baby until next year, so that they can focus on the queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the summer’s London Olympics. (USA Today has the story.)
THE ROMANCE BEHIND THE THRONE
Elizabeth met her future husband, Philip, when she was 13 years old; she reports having fallen in love and began exchanging letters with him. Today, the 85-year-old queen and 90-year-old duke have been married for 64 years.
Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.