This week we are not only celebrating the Queen’s official 96th Birthday with the Trooping of the Colour, but also the 70th year of her reign and her Platinum Jubilee. This is the first-ever Platinum Jubilee in British history and an important chance to give thanks to the remarkable monarch who has been head of state for seven decades, longer than Queen Victoria. Her reign has covered a period of extraordinary change in post-war Britain with great technological, scientific, and social changes in the late 20th century.
I can just about remember the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977, or at least people talking about it and being given a commemorative mug as a gift.
When she came to the throne in 1952, Queen Elizabeth was only 25 years old following the premature death of her father, King George VI. In the early part of her reign, Britain was in the process of breaking up the empire and the Queen was instrumental in creating the Commonwealth of nations during that process, creating a looser alliance based on friendship and cooperation that has endured.
During her reign, the Queen has granted Royal Assent to over 4000 individual pieces of legislation, as well as undertaken 21,000 official engagements in over 100 countries. There have been 14 British Prime Ministers since she came to the throne and countless other Heads of State across the 54 countries that make up the Commonwealth.
The monarchy forms a special and unique part of the British constitution. I think our system is much better than the presidential systems we see elsewhere. We separate our politics from the Royal Family. Incumbent Prime Ministers act with power that is on loan from the Crown. It means that our elected politics is more fluid and meritocratic than presidential systems where candidates tend to need financial means or fame to make it. In the UK, while politicians come and go, the Crown provides consistency and predictability over the long term. The monarch, as Head of State, symbolises Britain’s staying power and its ability to unite the nation in a common endeavour.
Cornwall also has a special relationship with the monarchy and a unique constitutional place in the United Kingdom as a Duchy. Many of us consider ourselves Cornish before English, but we are also proud to be British.
There will be events across the Camborne and Redruth area over the next few days to mark the occasion, including a street party in Redruth, a Jubilee picnic on Camborne Recreation Ground and other similar festivities in many of the local towns and villages. On Thursday 2nd of June, Camborne Town Council will be holding a Beacon Lighting Ceremony at 9:30pm in Commercial Square with a performance by the Holman’s Climax Male Voice Choir and a Bugler playing the Jubilee song. Nationally there will also be many events. I hope that Her Majesty enjoys her Platinum Jubilee.