We all have our own special memories of the Queen’s Jubilees. For me, they have spanned my entire life. So it is with great pleasure that I will join the entire nation in celebrating seventy years of Her Majesty’s reign - on this Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend.
In her coronation speech, the Queen said: “Throughout all my life, and with all my heart, I shall strive to be worthy of your trust.” I think the whole country will agree that our Queen has more than fulfilled her promises made to our nation.
Her service; her sense of selflessness; her steadfast commitment to the nation. These values and her service have defined Her Majesty’s seven decade reign, and will continue to define her.
I think the whole country will agree that our Queen has more than fulfilled her promises made to our nation.
That unwavering nature of service is made all the more remarkable by the length of Her Majesty’s reign. She is the longest-reigning female monarch in history - not just of this country, but of anywhere in the world. Ever.
The Queen’s gentle but strong presence throughout those years has been ever-constant. In challenging times, she is always a source of calm and comfort. Her Majesty movingly described the Duke of Edinburgh - whose presence will be greatly missed at these Jubilee celebrations - as her “strength and stay.” But truly, Her Majesty is the strength and stay of our nation.
And through it all, she has remained above the fray of politics - something which is so valuable.
Across our country, we will inevitably disagree on so many issues. There are, and should be, many shades of opinion. But because of Her Majesty, being patriotic and proud of your country is not about your political allegiance. It is not grounded in what the Government of the day may be doing - and I am very thankful it’s not!
Because of the Queen, we can come together this long weekend and reflect on the many things we actually have in common. That sense of pride in our nation is something we can all celebrate and share.
One of the particular joys of any royal Jubilee is seeing how it brings people together.
Of course, there is no better occasion to celebrate than that of the Jubilee. In 1977, in 2002 and in 2012, we have been fortunate enough to celebrate jubilees - with street parties, commemorative mugs and, of course, the unforgettable sight of Brian May playing guitar on the roof of Buckingham Palace.
I was at school when we celebrated the Silver Jubilee - and to be honest, my strongest memory of that Jubilee is of the Queen’s smile and personal delight as Virginia Wade won Wimbledon.
Then for the Golden Jubilee in 2002, I was honoured to meet Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh when they visited my constituency, in the Royal Borough of Kingston. Back then, the Queen unveiled a stone commemorating the one thousand, one hundredth anniversary of the coronation of King Edward the Elder, crowned in Kingston - one of the great Anglo Saxon Kings.
That sense of pride in our nation is something we can all celebrate and share.
And of course, the highlight of the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 was watching the film when the Queen parachuted down to the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics. Her Majesty has always been central to our lives - and it is always a privilege to celebrate her reign at Jubilees.
For the Platinum Jubilee, special memories are already being made. The other week, I channelled my inner Mary Berry while judging a Jubilee bake-off at Ellingham Primary School in my constituency. Amongst the mountains of the children’s sponge cakes and strawberries, I was struck by two things in particular.
First, a huge temptation to cheat on my diet! But second was the palpable excitement and enthusiasm the young children had for the Queen and her Jubilee.
One of the particular joys of any royal Jubilee is seeing how it brings people together. In every corner of our country from Caithness to Cornwall, communities will be coming together this weekend - which will be extra special, given how we weren’t able to gather during the pandemic.
So whether for a concert, street party or parade, I hope we can all share in the joy and festivities - together.