Today is the Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday: she is now Britain’s oldest and longest reigning monarch. For the majority of her ninety years, she has quietly and seemingly effortlessly steered, commanded, and guided this nation.
The Queen has devoted herself entirely to this country and the Commonwealth since the age of only twenty five. Her life has been all about duty and service and never once have we heard, either from her or from those who know her well, any word of regret or fatigue. She has stayed hard-working, humble, steadfast and devotional throughout her sixty four year reign.
Indeed, this is rather an exciting period of history to live through, and despite a small smattering of republican dissent and disgust; the majority of Britons agree and strongly believe that we should be celebrating her birthday ourselves, for she is our most important national treasure.
With her bright coloured clothes, cheerful smile, bright blue eyes and soft English voice, she is instantly recognisable around the world. She is probably one of the most famous people in the whole world; and she is ours. She belongs to Great Britain. She is our Queen. The fact that she does not reveal her whole self to us and we do not know her inner most thoughts and feelings means that we can make of her what we want; we can use her image and her inspiration in any way we choose.
The Queen is timeless and every generation around the world can be inspired by her in some way. For me, I find her complete devotion to her job the most inspiring aspect to her character; to work in the same job for sixty four years with no noisy complaints, to put her job before her own family and to work hard to ensure that the monarchy stays relevant, and in tandem with the British social climate, is no mean feat, and she has accomplished it with style.
Most significantly, the Queen shares everything with us: the births, deaths, milestones, holidays and birthdays. At every special occasion in her life we are there too, celebrating alongside her in whatever small way we can. She is also with us during important national celebrations, for example each Christmas she comes into our living rooms and offers us a poignant and reflective message to remind us, whilst we are digesting our turkey dinner surrounded by reams of wrapping paper, what the day really is all about.
To date, I have not had the opportunity to actually be in the Queen’s company, nor do I suspect I ever really will, but I have been privileged enough to see her in public on three occasions – the most memorable of which was in September 2015 on the day she became Britain’s longest reigning monarch. This was a moment that I shared with my grandmother who literally jumped and squealed for joy like a little girl when the Queen went past. That is the effect that she has on people whether young or old, she brings joy and happiness with a single smile and white-gloved wave.
Today the Queen turns 90 years old and she is celebrating this occasion by sharing it with us and spending another day at the office. Although in recent years she has slightly “slowed down” and her son, Prince Charles, has taken on more responsibilities, this is in no way the same retirement process that our own grandparents have gone through – there is no daytime television or crossword puzzles for her.
I would like to wish her Majesty the happiest of birthdays and I hope that she will be “long to reign over us” for many more years to come.