The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

06-Jun-2012

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

In 1952, aged 25, Elizabeth II became queen; the monarch of the United Kingdom, the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states, head of the Commonwealth of Nations and Supreme Governor of the Church of England – an undeniably weighty title.

Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation

Since then Martin Luther King has had a dream, men have landed on the moon and the Berlin wall has fallen and all the while the Queen has reigned over these many countries. Now, in her 60th Diamond Jubilee year she has proclaimed, ‘In this special year, I dedicate myself anew to your service.’

Elizabeth II will become only the second British monarch ever to reach her diamond jubilee, the other being her great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria. An impression of the Queen’s long reign is perhaps best gained through its numbers. Whilst Queen, Elizabeth II has seen 12 different British prime ministers and 6 popes. She has undertaken 261 official overseas visits to 116 different countries and sat for 129 portraits. She has answered three and a half million items of correspondence (though presumably had some help with this!) and sent 715,000 telegrams to commemorate 100th birthdays and 60th anniversaries.

She has also excelled in the fields of matrimony and pet-owning, racking up 64 years of marriage to Prince Philip and 30 corgis. She is the hostess with the mostest; inviting some 58,000 people a year round hers for a party. The Queen has embraced virtual socializing with the same gusto as despite the internet not existing for most of her reign she has now gone digital with the British Monarchy having their own website, YouTube channel and Twitter, Flickr and Facebook pages.

Though head of a family whose private lives have been marked by scandal and divorce, through it all the Queen has kept the stiffest of upper lips. Famed for her reserve; public perception of her decorum and constancy is perhaps best summed up by Helen Mirren who in accepting her Oscar for her portrayal of the Queen said, “For 50 years and more, Elizabeth Windsor has maintained her dignity, her sense of duty and her hairstyle.” Never giving interviews or press conferences, little is known about the queen’s non-public persona though she is said to be a wit and skilled mimic with a penchant for the Nintendo Wii introduced to her by Kate Middleton.

A protectiveness for the Queen, born out of a perception of her dedication, from the UK public manifests itself in the preoccupation with breaches in royal protocol. As evidenced when individuals, such as prime ministers and Michelle Obama, have touched the queen and thus provoked great consternation and debate. So, how to best mark the long reign of a monarch who has visited and hosted and tweeted so much? By bringing in ‘The Firm’ of course. Between the Queen and her royal brood an extensive plan of visits is being undertaken both around the UK and to 29 destinations overseas. An exportation of British pageantry to foreign climes best symbolized by Prince Harry turning his hand to dancing Calypso in Barbados.

This jubilee events will culminate in a weekend of festivities in the UK from the 2nd – 5th June. Reports that Prince Harry will kick off the celebrations with a display of traditional dances from around the world are, as yet, unconfirmed.