Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee: Queen and Country (Part I)

For 60 years Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been at the forefront of British life, and an inspiring example of dedication.

Unwavering in duty and completely dedicated to a life of public service, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has been at the head of the British royal family for six decades and is the longest reigning monarch since Queen Victoria.

 

No royal celebration since the 1953 Coronation has received more attention than the 2012 Diamond Jubilee, indicating that, as the head of the world’s most famous family, The Queen is responsible for evoking such a revival in royal appreciation.

 

The Diamond Jubilee carries a very different sentiment to the commemorations of 60 years ago when the nation honoured the accession of a young Queen. The events of 2012 have marked resurgence in royal fervour as Britain, and the world, applauds the longevity of the most recognised monarch.

 

As Her Majesty celebrates the Diamond Jubilee, Britain has experienced profound transformation, economically, socially and culturally. The Queen’s 60-year reign has seen unimaginable change, from witnessing man landing on the moon to the invention of the Internet and advances in telecommunications. Everest has been scaled, DNA unravelled and Mars explored. Today’s Britain is a dramatically different place to the country that welcomed a new Queen in 1952.

 

The Jubilee celebrations and the 2012 London Olympics have made Britain the centre of a global focus with The Queen at the heart of outstanding British achievement.

 

Projections illuminate Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee concert

 

Projections illuminate Buckingham Palace during the Diamond Jubilee concert

 

With a steadfast dedication to duty, a strict moral code and a clear voice of knowledgeable authority, The Queen has succeeded in reigniting patriotism and is one of the key reasons that the world still perceives Britain as great.

 

Britain through the Decades

 

Over the years, as the economic landscape and population of Britain has changed, so have the needs of the nation, and the role of the monarchy both in relation to Britain and the countries of the Commonwealth.

 

As a renowned trading power, fifties Britain was heavily reliant on manufacturing, which accounted for a third of national output and just under half of the nation’s employment. With the Second World War not yet a distant memory, Britain and countries around the world, including Singapore were rebuilding and developing a new way of life.

 

Shaking off the austerity of the fifties, sixties Britain heralded a much happier time. The go-ahead decade saw The Queen’s 10th anniversary celebrated in a country where the economy was buoyant and unemployment was almost non-existent. London was a glamorous place, but despite it being the decade of hippies and free love, politically it remained a cautiously moderate society.

 

By the time The Queen celebrated 25 years as monarch, most families had a television set and the Silver Jubilee was a colourful release from industrial disputes and a rapidly changing society. Across the globe an estimated 500 million people watched the 1977 celebrations.

 

The seventies offered opportunities to see more of the world. Until then, travel had been available only for the rich and the royalty. Middle-class Britons became rapidly more adventurous and the advent of the package holiday saw nine million people holidaying abroad in 1973 – compared to four million in 1971.

 

Burgeoning Britain entered a new era of rapid expansion in the eighties. High-tech innovation heralded the new decade. British inventors were winning international acclaim, like Tim Berners Lee who married hypertext with the Internet to create the World Wide Web. It was then, the seemingly impossible dream of distributing information globally had become an amazing reality.

 

This was also the decade that celebrated two royal weddings. As a result, there was increased interest and support for the royal family as Prince Charles wed Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Andrew married Sarah Ferguson.

 

As a new generation of royals came to the fore, technological inroads started to change the British way of life, with time-saving devices such as the home computer and microwave oven entering the mainstream. When the financial roller coaster of the eighties came to an end, the nineties signalled a sobering time for the country as a whole and The Queen personally. In a speech at London’s Guildhall in November 1992, to mark the 40th anniversary of accession, Her Majesty spoke of her 'annus horribilis' ('year of horrors') in the aftermath of a tragic fire at Windsor Castle. Five years later the celebration of The Queen and Prince Philip’s golden wedding anniversary gave Britain a welcome opportunity to look backon 'a remarkable fifty years'.

 

By the start of the 21st century a new style of monarchy was emerging, in touch with the nation but not overly familiar. As the country celebrated The Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, public support for the royal family was as strong as ever. The makers of a BBC documentary Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work were granted unprecedented access to the royal family, in a series which underlined the dedication of the sovereign and the importance of The Queen’s constant and well-regarded reign.

 

In The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, the country has changed immeasurably from the time of accession. The manufacturing superpower of 1952 is today a service economy. According to a report by Britain’s Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), manufacturing now accounts for just 2.5 million jobs, compared to 8.7 million 60 years ago.

 

Although Britain’s business landscape has changed greatly, respect for the monarchy has remained resolute. In a survey conducted by researchers Ipsos MORI in Diamond Jubilee year, 90 per cent of British adults were reported to be satisfied with the way The Queen reigns.

 

The dedication The Queen has shown in her 60-year reign is clear for all to see. The Diamond Jubilee celebrations acknowledge a remarkable achievement: six decades as both British monarch and Head of the Commonwealth, which today numbers some 54 independent states, including Singapore.

 

One of the most recognised people in the world, The Queen is an inspiring example of dedication

 

One of the most recognised people in the world, The Queen is an inspiring example of dedication

 

Heading a nation of more than 62 million people at an age when most people have retired appears not to be a daunting prospect. The revered octogenarian still maintains a punishing schedule. In 2010 alone, The Queen undertook 444 engagements, averaging 100 handshakes a visit.

 

One of the most recognised people in the world, The Queen’s popularity far outweighs that of mere celebrity. At her Diamond Jubilee, The Queen has shown that a dignified and constant presence of insight and judgment gains growing respect with every passing year.

 

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