Queen Elizabeth II marks 60 yrs on throne

2012-02-06 07:32

King's Lynn - Queen Elizabeth II marks 60 years as monarch on Monday with a deliberately low-key programme of visits to eastern England, kicking off five months of diamond jubilee celebrations.

The queen will visit the town hall in King's Lynn and then a nearby school, six decades to the day since she ascended to the throne after her father King George VI suddenly died on February 06 1952.

The day in Norfolk kicks off a series of events culminating in a flotilla of 1 000 boats sailing up the River Thames on June 03 led by the queen in an ornate barge adorned with flowers.

At the age of 85, the queen's programme will be restricted to Britain over the next five months, but other members of the royal family will criss-cross the Commonwealth in her place.

The diamond jubilee festivities have been scheduled over four days on June 2-5, and will also include a chain of beacons being lit across the Commonwealth and a pageant of horses and performers in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

On Sunday, the queen braved snowy weather to attend a church service alongside her 90-year-old husband Prince Philip, who appeared sprightly despite undergoing heart surgery just before Christmas.

After the service, she was presented with flowers by local children outside the church, which lies on the royals' private Sandringham estate.

On the fateful day in 1952, the 25-year-old Elizabeth was on a visit to Kenya when she received the news from her husband that her father had passed away in his sleep - she had gone to bed a princess and woke up a queen.

As she returned to Britain, she was greeted at the airport by prime minister Winston Churchill and the enormity of the challenge ahead dawned on her.

Wonderful support

Her coronation, a solemn affair, did not take place for more than a year, on June 02 1953.

In a message to her subjects to mark Monday's landmark, the queen said she wanted to "dedicate myself anew to your service".

She thanked the nation for "the wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to me and Prince Philip over these years" and she urged people to "give thanks for the great advances that have been made since 1952".

Prime Minister David Cameron said the queen had guided the country "with experience, dignity and quiet authority" - and he dismissed suggestions she was "simply a glittering ornament".

"That misunderstands our constitution and it underestimates our Queen. Always dedicated, always resolute and always respected, she is a source of wisdom and continuity," Cameron said.

"All my life, and for the lives of most people in this country, she has always been there for us."

One member of the royal family who will be absent from the early stages of the jubilee celebrations is Prince William, who last week started a six-week mission as a Royal Air Force search and rescue pilot in the Falkland Islands.

Argentina, which claims the islands in the South Atlantic, is furious at the prince's posting.

  • Larry - 2012-02-06 07:43

    Well Whoop De Doo.

  • Deon - 2012-02-06 07:44

    Poor old Charles is never going to become king (if I care).

  • Felix - 2012-02-06 07:55

    She must have a strong wrist from all that waving. Such a hard job.

  • Lwando Zondwa-Ziintshaba Poni - 2012-02-06 07:56

    No one cares, obsolete nonsense...

      Arthur - 2012-02-06 08:16

      Wrong Lwando, tens of millions care. Just because you don't, don't assume you mirror the views of everyone.

      Lwando Zondwa-Ziintshaba Poni - 2012-02-06 08:20

      Whatever, they are all self loathing pathetic individuals. No one is greater than me and I am greater than no one, by birth right or position. Unless I elect you into power which you've worked for, you dont have my respect or praise. I dont kneel to anyone and I'm not the only one Arthur

      AyGeewils - 2012-02-06 08:44

      So you will not respect Amakhosi and show the correct protocol when entering their presence? I somehow think when it behoves you to bend the knee to a dully recognised Cheif you will do so. I have seen many proud men stoop before Inkhosi and there is no shame in respect. Despite all her faults and we all have them - she has stuck to the mandate given her when her father abdicated and she has gone the distance.

      Malcolm - 2012-02-06 09:11

      Typical arrogant comment from someone who has not taken the trouble to find out what the Queen actually does. Instead of the empty posturing so often done by other so called leaders, she has served her country selflessly for 60 years and has guided the minds and hearts of millions throughout the world. I sincerely hope you never attain such a position as, with your attitude, it could only be detrimental to those who you were supposed to be serving. Service is about humility, not arrogance!

      Lwando Zondwa-Ziintshaba Poni - 2012-02-06 09:52

      You people amaze me, and no I dont kneel to anyone. I actually have royalty in my family and gone are those days of acting up. It baffles me how you people praise someone who hasnt work a day in her life. What kind of message is that sending to other people abd especially children? In this world people must work hard to be respected. Thats why Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Rholihlahla Mandela, Barbra Walters, Ralph Lauren and many others have the respect they deserve because they have worked hard to be leaders and they lead with great conviction and humanity. This woman like Zwelithini inherited their titles and occasionally say the right thing here and there. They've never had to work hard for what they have, how can you people respect and praise that? How low your expectations must be.

      Craig - 2012-02-06 09:58

      Lwando - that's not strictly true. Plenty of people are far greater than you. For example, Ronaldinho (and my grandmother) might be better footballers. Nadal (and my pet squirrel, Jeffrey) might be better tennis players. Hawking (and the kid down the road with new Timberlands) might be better astro-physicists. My mate Vleis is a better News24 commentator, admittedly by the skin of his rum-stained teeth. One presumes these people were born with these skills, and worked hard at them too, to achieve their greatness. And that effort deserves adulation, or at the very least respect. So too with the Queen. She might have been born into royalty, but she does a damn sight more with her position that some monarchs that leap crashing into my mind wearing leopard skins, takkies and a cellphone, and eye for feudal serfdom. :)

      Lwando Zondwa-Ziintshaba Poni - 2012-02-06 10:11

      @Craig, my point was that I dont feel like a lesser being because they are rich, better at soccer, born into royalty etc. We are all equal as human beings even though I may be a better Chess player than you. I dont care who says what but no one is above anyone PERIOD!!!

      Mike - 2012-02-06 10:18

      Would only one say who has no clue about world affairs. Her Majesty the Queen as her father and family have been an integral part of Britain, a hard working monarch who has served her people for 60 years. And I said served - as the Head of State of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. I used the word served, with dedication - something the "local" squandering tax abusing "rulers" could certainly learn from. Obsolete nonsense to her 135 Million subjects she serves each day?

      Carl - 2012-02-06 12:46

      I do care that a family that through history has enriched itself through the rape and enslavement of millions is still supported by millions of with their heads!

  • Julie - 2012-02-06 08:03

    What has this got to do with us?

      jen.bader - 2012-02-06 08:16

      I think we are back as part of the commonwealth,even though we see little of the wealth part :-)

      christo.stone - 2012-02-06 08:17

      It's under World News, so if you're not interested, don't click it, mmkay?

      Arthur - 2012-02-06 08:17

      What has landing on the moon got to do with us? What has American presidential elections got to do with us? What, do you want news only of Blikkiesdorp?

  • Arthur - 2012-02-06 08:14

    The epitome of dignity and decency. Well done ma'am..

      faerrab - 2012-02-06 08:45

      Well done to her she authorised the eviction of Diego Garcia inhabitants, burning their livestock and detroying their lives. Diego Garcia was given to America and to this is used as a Military base. Diego Garcians are not allowed on the island and live in abject poverty in Mauritius - So much for her decency

  • Stan - 2012-02-06 08:15

    smile and wave ...

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