6 February 2022

UK: Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee

King George VI (1895-1952). Photo: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-matpc-14736/Wikimedia Commons.

Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: 2015  Joel Rouse (Ministry of Defence), and nagualdesign/Wikimedia Commons.

Today, 6 February 2022, it is 70 years since the death of King George VII of the United Kingdom, a day which naturally also marks the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II.

On the eve of her platinum jubilee, Sandringham House, where the queen is currently residing, issued the following statement:

Tomorrow, 6th February, marks the 70th anniversary of my Accession in 1952. It is a day that, even after 70 years, I still remember as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign.

As we mark this anniversary, it gives me pleasure to renew to you the pledge I gave in 1947 that my life will always be devoted to your service.

As I look ahead with a sense of hope and optimism to the year of my Platinum Jubilee, I am reminded of how much we can be thankful for. These last seven decades have seen extraordinary progress socially, technologically and culturally that have benefitted us all; and I am confident that the future will offer similar opportunities to us and especially to the younger generations in the United Kingdom and throughout the Commonwealth.

I am fortunate to have the steadfast and loving support of my family. I was blessed that in Prince Philip I had a partner willing to carry out the role of consort and unselfishly make the sacrifices that go with it. It is a role I saw my own mother perform during my father's reign.

This anniversary also affords me a time to reflect on the goodwill shown to me by people of all nationalities, faiths and ages in this country and around the world over these years. I would like to express my thanks to you all for your support. I remain eternally grateful for, and humbled by, the loyalty and affection that you continue to give me. And when, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes King, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support that you have given me; and it is my sincere wish that, when that time comes, Camilla will be known as Queen Consort as she continues her own loyal service.

And so as I look forward to continuing to serve you with all my heart, I hope this Jubilee will bring together families and friends, neighbours and communities – after some difficult times for so many of us – in order to enjoy the celebrations and to reflect on the positive developments in our day-to-day lives that have so happily coincided with my reign.

The statement was signed «Your Servant Elizabeth R». Earlier today the Prince of Wales  followed up with his own statement from Clarence House:

On this historic day, my wife and I join you all in congratulating Her Majesty The Queen on the remarkable achievement of serving this nation, the Realms and Commonwealth for seventy years. The Queen's devotion to the welfare of all her people inspires still greater admiration with each passing year. 
We are deeply conscious of the honour represented by my mother's wish. As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout. 
The year of this unprecedented Platinum Jubilee brings an opportunity for us all to come together in celebrating the service of The Queen, by whose example we will continue to be led in the years to come.
There have been many reactions to the queen's statement since it was released yesterday, fortunately most of them have been positive. The Duchess of Cornwall has not put a foot wrong since she married the Prince of Wales in 2005. She has been a great support to her husband and served her Queen and country well, something that is confirmed by the queen's wish. In 2005 before the Prince of Wales married Camilla Parker Bowes, née Shand, it was stated that upon the accession of the Prince of Wales, Camilla would use the unprecedented title Princess Consort, even if  by authority in English common law she was
entitled to become Queen (Consort). In the same way Camilla has since her second marriage been referred to by the (secondary) title Duchess of Cornwall instead of Princess of Wales. even if she is entitled to the latter. The reason for this decision was make the marriage more acceptable to the public following the circumstances surrounding the marriage of the Prince of Wales and the former Lady Diana Spencer and the latter's tragic death in 1997. I felt at the time that the decision to use the title Duchess of Cornwall was understandable given the situation, but I always hoped and also expected that Camilla would become Queen at the accession of the Prince of Wales. Diana, Princess of Wales would never have become Queen anyway following the divorce, so the title «Princess Consort», despite the circumstances, made less sense to me. I am pleased that it has now been sorted out.

But the title discussion should not in any way overshadow the platinum jubilee. Hats off to the British queen for her many, many years of service to her country and people!

To celebrate a platinum jubilee is not common for any monarch. Queen Elizabeth will most likely pass both Prince Johann II of Liechtenstein, who reigned for 70 years and 91 days as well as King Bhumibol Adulyadej  (Rama IX) of Thailand, who reigned for 70 years and 126 days, during the jubilee. The queen is currently in her 96th year, but we cannot rule out the possibility that she will live to pass King Louis XIV of France's record of 72 years and 110 days on 28 May 2024 ...

Details of the plans for the Platinum Jubilee can be read at the British Royal Family's official website.

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