"I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all
|Queen Elizabeth II shortly after her accession in 1952.|
The Queen made this vow at the tender age of 21 to an empire that stretched all over the world. Sixty-five years later, the Queen held on to her vow of doing her duties for the service of the people of Great Britain, for the upheaval of the dignity of the Crown that she held nearly 60 years from now, and for the propagation of British culture and tradition despite the changing times.
Today, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her eighty-sixth birthday. She was born Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary to the Duke and Duchess of York, who ascended to the British throne in 1936 as the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, later affectionately known as the Queen Mother. In 1952, she ascended to the throne and was crowned queen in 1953.
Her reign signaled the transition of Great Britain from being the world’s greatest power to becoming of the major players in international diplomacy. Her reign itself saw the modernization of the British monarchy to adapt the changing needs of times, as well as to reach out even more to the people that it serves. Today, the Queen is a symbol of everything that Great Britain stood for and continues to stand for—a country that pays respect to the richness of its culture and past, while serving as a model institution of good governance and transparency to the whole world.
Indeed, the Queen’s duties may be summarized in her statement she gave many years ago: “I cannot lead you into battle. I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else - I can give my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.”