AND so the big weekend has arrived, and as a nation – and indeed a Commonwealth – we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the accession to the throne of our Queen.
We use the phrase ‘our Queen’ rather than the more usual ‘the Queen’ as a indication of the way in which this remarkable woman has commanded the respect and admiration of her subjects during her long reign.
Millions of words will be written about her during this long weekend of celebration, and we hope that this tribute will add something to them as old and young join in a salute to the monarch and, perhaps just as importantly, all that she stands for.
The United Kingdom has changed dramatically since that day so long ago when, during a visit to Kenya, the young Princess Elizabeth was told of the untimely death of King George VI.
She returned to these shores as Queen, to mourn her father and to prepare for her Coronation.
It is almost an understatement to say that she entranced the nation as she greeted her people after that historic ceremony at Westminster Abbey.
She has continued to entrance them since. She is not perfect – none of us are – but she is certainly closer to perfect than most who might have had greatness thrust upon them.
For over the decades, she has brought about a huge change in the way in which the Royal Family operates, making it more accessible and accountable to the public while at the same time maintaining its regency and, indeed, not a little of its mystique.
Elizabeth II was of course born into a privileged lifestyle, but there can be no doubt that she has worked hard and tirelessly in service of her country.
Sometimes, heavy was the crown, but she has come through those crises that have befallen her seemingly stronger and with yet more regal bearing.
Cheers rang out as she was crowned and those cheers will echo again this weekend in salute to her, and deservedly so, for she is the rock upon which this nation is grounded.
God save the Queen!