February 06, 2012

Long live our noble Queen

Today is the 60th anniversary of the ascendancy of Elizabeth II to the throne of the United Kingdom and the nations of the British Commonwealth, including Canada. Elizabeth became queen on February 6, 1952, upon the death of her father, George VI. It was Canada that first officially issued a proclamation of her accession, the same day. At the time, Elizabeth and her husband, Prince Philip, were visiting Kenya. They immediately returned to England, and she was formally crowned Queen on June 2, 1953.

I am like many, perhaps even most, of Elizabeth's loyal subjects in one regard: in my lifetime, there has never been another monarch of Canada. She is now the second-longest reigning British monarch, after Victoria, and at 85 years old, the oldest ruling monarch in English history. An elected head of state, or a monarchical leader such as the Pope, who tends to ascend later in life, characteristically has a much shorter tenure, and thus it's the office, rather than the person, who becomes the institution. Change will inevitably come, but it will be harder at first to accept.

The lyrics to the Royal Anthem constitute a prayer: that the Queen will be blessed with a long life, and that her reign will be just and free of conflict. On the occasion of 60 years of faithful service to her subjects, we can thank God for answered prayer, but we can still continue to pray: "God save the Queen"!