Yet another milestone in the reign of the Queen

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The royal records keep tumbling.

The Queen on Saturday became the first monarch to celebrate a 64th anniversary on the throne.

Princess Elizabeth was aged 25 when she acceded as head of state following the death of her father King George VI in 1952. There are decreasing numbers of people alive who even remember that handover – anyone who does would have to be almost aged 70.

Last September Queen Elizabeth overtook Queen Victoria’s long reign to become the longest serving king or queen since William the Conqueror in 1066.

No monarch after the Battle of Hastings victor so much as reached a 70th birthday for almost 700 years, until George II in 1753 (a milestone that the Belfast News Letter, founded 1737, was around to cover but few other current newspapers were – not even The Times).

Our present queen sailed past her 70th birthday and to this day, weeks away from her 90th, retains a daily routine that many people of working age would consider to be a full-time commitment.

The Duke of Edinburgh, approaching his 95th birthday, is similarly busy, although both have gradually scaled back their commitments as you would expect of nonaganerians.

The energy and enthusiasm and sense of commitment of the royal couple is an inspiration to older people the world over, increasing numbers of whom are leading fulfilled lives long past the old retirement ages of 60 or 65.

In June, a weekend of national events is planned to coincide with the Queen’s official birthday in June (which is weeks after her actual birthday).

The Queen’s ceasesless sense of duty is perhaps the over-riding reason why a hereditary institution, the monarchy, is so overwhelmingly popular as an institution in Britain almost a century after the universal franchise.