Queen puts country first in historic Jubilee address to Parliament
Like any good grandmother, Queen Elizabeth likes to remind people of old-fashioned values every now and then.
Thus, the words she spoke to Britain’s Houses of Parliament in Westminster Hall on Tuesday had a familiar, but still resounding, ring to them.
In a six-minute address to mark her Diamond Jubilee, she reminded her countrymen of that they have the virtues of “resilience, ingenuity and tolerance,” while at the same time echoing her own vow to “rededicate myself to the service of our great country.”
She didn’t leave out Prince Philip, either, who sat beside her for the formal ceremony at the thousand-year-old hall.
“During these years as your Queen, the support of my family has, across the generations, been beyond measure. Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide,” said the 85-year-old monarch of her 90-year-old husband.
Among the audience for the Queen’s sixth address to both Houses in her 60 years as monarch (her last one was for her Golden Jubilee in 2002) was Prime Minister David Cameron, former premiers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams.
Not forgetting Canada and the rest of the Commonwealth, the Queen stressed the importance of the royal tours that are currently underway. Prince Harry just returned from a seven-day trip and Prince Charles and Camilla, who embarked on a Scandinavian tour Tuesday, will be in Canada in May.
“These overseas tours are a reminder of our close affinity with the Commonwealth, encompassing about one-third of the world's population,” she said.
“My own association with the Commonwealth has taught me that the most important contact between nations is usually contact between its peoples.
“An organization dedicated to certain values, the Commonwealth has flourished and grown by successfully promoting and protecting that contact.”
The audience gave her a standing ovation after the speech.
As a gift to mark the Queen’s 60 years on the throne, Parliament commissioned a Diamond Jubilee stained glass window that was unveiled after her speech (above photo).
Remarked the Queen: "Should this beautiful window cause just a little extra colour to shine down on this ancient place, I should gladly settle for that."
The window, paid for by members of both Houses and designed by British artist John Reyntiens, will be installed above the North Door of Westminster Hall later this year.