Last Summer I received an invitation to a 70th wedding anniversary celebration. This is no reflection on the age of those who are over 70, but I remember looking at the invitation and thinking, “70 years is a considerable amount of time.” A lot happens in 70 years; a lot changes in 70 years.
I’m thinking the same thing as we celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee this month. 70 years on the throne. Queen Elizabeth is the UK’s longest reigning monarch, 7 years longer than the previous record held by Queen Victoria. Will it be beaten? Certainly not in my lifetime.
70 years! I don’t want to overplay the differences, but at the same time the landscape Britain in 2022 is very different to that of 1952. The Queen seems to have been able to adapt and remain current and relevant, while at the same time part of a traditional and historical institution. Not an easy feat.
Yet, as I think about our Queen, it’s not just the length of her reign that sets her apart as someone that many ‘love and respect’. That’s more to do with how she goes about her role.
The Queen has always struck me as one who reigns with a quiet dignity. She has that difficult task of being a very public figure who has her own opinions, yet needs to be very careful in how she expresses them, often having to keep them to herself. I’m sure she hasn’t always got it right, but personally I’ve always felt we can trust her to say and do the right thing as she represents us as a nation and is a figurehead in public life.
Over the last few years, we’ve also seen something else. The Queen has been very public about her faith in Jesus. In her Christmas speech in 2014, the Queen described her faith as ‘the anchor in my life’. In 2016, again in her Christmas message, she told us, ‘Billions of people now follow Christ’s teaching and find in him the guiding light for their lives. I am one of them.’
As we celebrate her 70th Jubilee, I want to pray for our Queen as she serves God and our country. May the Lord help her and be with her!
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