Sixty years ago today, Her Majesty was crowned as our Sovereign in Westminster Abbey. As a seven year old half way through my second year of primary school, I have vivid memories of the local fire station decorated with garlands and a replica of the St Edward's Crown on its Drill Tower. There were flags in the main street, bunting everywhere and at school we got a half day and a commeorative medal. A few weeks later we were even able to see snatches of the actual event on the Movietone News in the local cinemas.
As you may have guessed, I'm a Royalist. Even though the scenes and memories I have described are from South Africa, and the small coastal city of East London, we were then a part of the great family of dominions and colonies that made up "the Empire" and she was "our" Sovereign as well as Queen of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Her Governor-General represented her in the official opening of Parliament and signed all the legislation passed by it in her name. I am still a Royalist. It has been my privilege to meet and speak too several of her family members over the years, and each time I have been impressed by their ability to treat everyone presented to them as important. Nor do they forget you. I have met the same members of the Royal Family a second time in a different place and a different context - and been remembered. I cannot say the same of the many politicians I have had to deal with.
Today Her Majesty celebrates her 60th anniversary of her coronation, though she has, in fact, been the Queen since the moment of her father's death. Only Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother, reigned for longer in the entire history of British Monarchs. The first Elizabeth to rule as Queen of England, Wales and Ireland, reigned for a total of 44 years 127 days and ushered in the age of British expansion. Long may Her Majesty, Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, continue to reign over us.
God save the Queen.
Aboriginal Carving of a Whale in Waverton, Australia
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