Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating the platinum anniversary of her reign—the first time in history a British monarch has reigned for so long.
The queen’s platinum jubilee comes at a time when support for the Crown is probably at its lowest (in “English” Canada at least) nadir in this country, with a majority now saying they would not support a British monarch remaining as head of state when Prince Charles ascends to the throne—but despite that sentiment—a significant majority of Canadians still hold a fond place in their hearts for the 96-year-old current queen—she is the only queen most Canadians have ever known. Two thirds of Canadians think of her fondly and 60 percent report that they will be at least be somewhat affected when she does pass away.
Although many of the royal family have slipped into controversy and scandal over the years, Queen Elizabeth II has largely remained high above the feeding frenzies of the tabloid press, both in Britain and abroad. Her steadfast dedication to her role has never wavered, remaining the rock-steady, if largely ceremonial, face of constitutional monarch. In these rapidly changing and challenging times, that in and of itself has been a tremendous accomplishment.
Her majesty’s dedication to public service long predates her ascension to the throne, having served in uniform as a driver during the London Blitz in the Second World War, when she provided hope and a glimpse of that determination and dedication to her people that would serve her through the seven decades of her reign, a reign that officially began 16 months after her own beloved father, King George VI, died following a long illness.
Through all the time since she ascended to the throne, her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has turned the concept of monarchy on its head, seeking to serve rather than to be served, and thus setting the bar high for those who would seek to lead the nations of our Commonwealth.
It may well be that in the future, Canada will join other members of the Commonwealth in adopting a more republican model of government and the polls certainly indicate that is a very likely possibility, with the attendant changes of a move to an elected head of state rather than one who comes to reign by accident of birth. It cannot be reasonably disputed, though, that Queen Elizabeth has served in her role with dignity, gravitas, loyalty and selfless dedication.
On the occasion of her platinum jubilee, let us once more exclaim: Long live the Queen! Dieu Sauve la Reine!