Britain's queen vows to carry on after 60 years on the throne
Mar 20, 2012, 17:02 GMT
London - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II took centre stage Tuesday in the celebrations marking her 60th anniversary as monarch when she remarked on the wisdom of old age and vowed to carry on in the nation's service 'in the years to come.'
The 85-year-old queen, dressed in a yellow suit and matching hat, addressed both houses of parliament in a ceremony marked as much by splendour as by the light-hearted tone she adopted to survey her six decades as monarch.
'Over such a period, one can observe that the experience of venerable old age can be a mighty guide, but not a prerequisite for success in public office,' she said.
'So, in an era when the regular, worthy rhythm of life is less eye-catching than doing something extraordinary, I am reassured that I am merely the second sovereign to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee,' she added, in a reference to Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother.
Appearing relaxed and smiling the queen noted that she had the 'pleasurable duty' of dealing with 12 prime ministers since she came to the throne in 1952 and had signed 3,500 bills into law.
She made a special point of stressing the support she had received from her family and in particular from her husband Prince Philip, 90, whom she described as a 'constant strength and guide.'
The queen said that her own association with the 54 Commonwealth nations had taught her that 'the most important contact between nations is usually contact between its peoples.'
The Commonwealth had 'flourished and grown' by successfully promoting and protecting that contact,' she said.
Her speech in Westminster Hall, the 900-year-old building which has played a central role in Britain's royal and parliamentary history, was attended by parliamentarians, members of the House of Lords, churchmen and other dignitaries.
'I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come,' she said.
It was later reported that, after her formal duties, the queen relaxed with a tumbler of gin at a follow-on reception.
One royal watcher said the queen was currently at a 'high watermark' of her popularity after the royal family had left behind years of scandal and was giving itself a new image by involving the younger generation in official duties, following the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, last year.
Tuesday's ceremony, which formed one of the highlights of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, coincided Tuesday with the reopening after a 12-million-pound (19-million-dollar) revamp of Kensington Palace in London, the future home of Prince William and Kate.
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