What do the following all have in common: tea rationing finishes, The Great London Smog kills 4000 people, England has its first professional Cricket captain, the United Kingdom developed an atomic bomb, identity cards were abolished, the first jet aircraft flew from Johannesburg to London, Agatha Christie’s The Mouse Trap opens in London and Mary Norton’s The Borrowers is published? All of these events happened in the year that our Queen came to the throne. How this country, and the world, have changed during her reign.
Many of us will not have known another British monarch other than Elizabeth II. The grainy videos and photographs of her coronation are evidence of the photographic technology available at that time. What advancements in Science, Sport, Art, Education, Technology and in fact all aspects of life we have witnessed in her reign, and yet the Queen has been the constant factor throughout this period of history. She appears to be conversant and knowledgeable with any number of global and British issues whilst keeping her counsel neutral in matters of the state. She has also embraced technological developments; reportedly sending her first email in 1976!
There are many events planned to celebrate the incredible milestone she has achieved of 70 years of service to her country and its people. Leeds village, already bedecked with jubilee bunting, is an indication of the celebrations to come over Half Term. I am sure the Queen herself is looking forward to celebrating this milestone, though probably more so when it is all over! Watching her thoroughly involved and enjoying the spectacle that was the Windsor Horse Show last weekend was an indication of the pleasure she gets from the equine area of life. Horses and corgis appear to feature strongly in her life – anyone who has a pet will know the joy they bring to their lives.
Irrespective of age, what can we learn from our Queen? On a visit to South Africa, whilst still Princess Elizabeth, she broadcast the following message “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service”. How true that statement has proved to be over her 70-year reign.
In my opinion, her two greatest qualities are her ability to keep her counsel about all aspects of her and the lives of her family. On one occasion, in 1992, she spoke about an ‘Annus Horribilis’ (a disastrous or unfortunate year) but other than that occasion, she never speaks publicly about her feelings and keeps her thoughts out of the public domain. Perhaps we can learn to think before speaking in future? Secondly, the Queen remains constant and unwavering; based on her strong faith, she is dependable and honest. We could learn to respect other people and remain loyal to our friends.
The Queen is an amazing lady who embraces the old, whilst accepting the new, especially the advancements in technology and has, as part of her duty, put her country before all else. What a lot we can learn from Her Majesty; a symbol of steadfastness and leadership. God bless our Queen!
Richard Green, Senior Leader