A Tribute from Brixham, Devon to HM Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of 70 years of public service as our queen (1952 -2022)
Our Platinum Monarch
Anyone reading through the literature of the life of HM Queen, Elizabeth II cannot but be impressed by the humility and dignity of our Queen.
Her reign has been a time of tremendous change, but the constants she embodies of service to, concern for others and importance of community is there for all to see.
HM Queen inherited a constitutional role. She has earned respect and love of peoples in the UK and beyond. She has engaged with millions of people from Heads of State to the humblest citizen, yet treats them all with kindness.
As we celebrate the 1950’s, we can reflect that we are indeed fortunate to have been born into, a second Elizabethan ’Golden Age’.
We hope you enjoy our celebrations in Brixham and the 40 Free public events including parades, exhibitions, displays, services and activities in town between Wednesday 1st June and Sunday 5th June 2022.
We thank everyone who has helped these tributes from Brixham be memorable for generations to come.
1. The example set by HM Queen during her 70 years reign.
HM Queen was born on 21st April 1926 in London. The coronation was held 2 June 1953 at Westminster Abbey, London. One major reason the Queen commands such respect world-wide is her sense of public service and connection to people. Before her coronation, she asked everyone to:
“Pray that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promises I shall be making and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life”
The Queen over seven decades has never diverged from her duties.
People who have met her say that she has a calm authority, a natural dignity, welcoming engaging nature and a memory for details. She works extremely hard. She grew up before there was TV, jet engines or the Internet but is engaged with science and technology at the highest level.
HM Queen had a strong and happy marriage to HRH Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh. He had been at her side until his death on 16thApril 2021. The funeral service at Windsor Castle was followed by her prompt return to public duties three weeks later despite her grief.
HM the Queen’s Christian beliefs are well known. She is head of the Church of England and takes her role seriously. She has reached out to other faiths and is the only British Monarch to have been received by the Pope in Rome.
HM Queen enjoys life, spending time with family and friends. She loves the countryside, her dogs and horses and still rides. She enjoys family occasions and time with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has a great sense of humour, enjoys dancing and singing.
HM the Queen is a remarkable public servant. During her long reign she has been the adviser and confidante to 14 Prime Ministers. She is a 96 year old Senior Citizen but still works a 40 hour week, attending engagements varying from visits to schools and care homes to meeting with other Heads of State.
HM the Queen has been a dignified, unifying and admired figurehead who has led by unselfish example. Her sense of duty is an example for all generations.
2. The Coronation
Elizabeth II became our monarch upon the death of her father King George VI. The King had led the UK and Commonwealth through the Second World War (1939-1945) in which over 63 million people had died and countless millions more were bereaved, injured, orphaned, displaced, disabled or disfigured.
In the UK, despite over 400,000 people killed, 1950’s Britain was starting to recover from the destruction of widespread bombing; rationing of essentials goods was ending; the economy was booming and people were optimistic about the new Elizabethan Age.
The coronation was held 2 June 1953 at Westminster Abbey, London. This delay after the death of her father was because of the convention of allowing time to pass after a monarch dies.
The Coronation service was broadcast via radio to the world. TV was a new consumer item- unknown to most of the UK population. Such was the excitement that sales and renting of TV sets boomed. Half the UK population some 27 million people watched the Coronation in black and white (there was no colour TV). Another 11 million UK people listened on the radio.
The rituals of the coronation were devised in AD973.
The Queen was given the Orb representing power originally made for Charles ll upon the restoration of the monarchy in 1661. It has more than six hundred pearls and jewels with a studded cross on top.
The Queen was given the Royal Sceptre into her right hand, representing wisdom with the largest diamond known as the Star of Africa and diamond encrusted cross on top. Into her left hand was placed the sceptre called the Rod of Equity and Mercy. She was given a Bible reflecting the Christian values and beliefs expected of a ruling monarch.
There are a number of swords presented reflecting the Queen’s role in administering Justice. Two of the swords have had their blade tips broken off to remind the Monarch that they should exercise both judgement and mercy.
The Secret Ceremony
One section of the service was not televised. The Queen’s crimson velvet robe, and jewels were removed. The Archbishop anointed her with holy oil to show she was being set apart to serve and love her people in heart and action.
3. All in a day’s work
The Queen has worked more than 50 hours a week for most of her working life. Only recently in her 95th Year has she slowed down to a mere 40 hours per week. She responds to hundreds of papers and correspondence every week.
As Head of State and Head of the Commonwealth she reads the red boxes of papers from the Prime Minister’s Office. She has a constitutional right and duty to express her views on government matters.
The Queen meets or engages with the Prime Minister on a weekly basis. The contents of the meeting have never been made public but several Prime Ministers have commented how useful they are.
The Queen also has a heavy schedule of visits from local events to official State visits. Some visits involve visiting ordinary places to celebrate good work of all kinds from charities, business, technology or heritage etc. Some visits are designed to promote trade or goodwill among the nations. HM the Queen has shown remarkable knowledge of local issues or the latest technology.
Among her many visits she came to Brixham, Devon in 1988 to mark 300 years since the landing of William of Orange which is commemorated on a plinth on the quayside in our town.
She is extraordinarily respectful of other people. She employs 1200 but treats none as servants. She is almost never late for anything or anyone and sees lateness as a mark of disrespect.
The Queen’s work is an expression of the desire to serve others; she is a Queen who chooses to serve her people by doing work that contributes to the country and world’s benefit.
Compare the Queen to the list of despotic rulers that litter history or even many elected Presidents and we know we have indeed been fortunate.
The Queen does not have the autocratic power of her predecessors. She still retains enormous influence through what is now regarded as ‘soft’ power. Part of this is the ability to ‘nudge’ people and is reflected in the following tale.
In Saudi Arabia laws prevent women from driving. In 1998, Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia visited the Queen at Balmoral. She asked him if he would like a tour and guided him to the front seat of a Land Rover.
He was shocked to see the Queen getting into the driving seat. When the Prince became King, Saudi law was changed to allow women to drive.
The Christmas Message
The Monarch’s Christmas message began in 1932. These messages now form part of the Christmas Day ritual for millions of families.
In the 1984 Christmas message she said:
“Above all, we must retain the child’s readiness to forgive, with which we are all born and which is all too easy to lose as we grow older. Without it, divisions between families, communities and nations remain unbridgeable. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to live up to the standards of behaviour and tolerance which we are so eager to teach them.”
The Queen has worked hard for world peace. She visited the Republic of Ireland in 2011 to help the reconciliation of communities. She was the first British monarch to meet the Pope since the Reformation and attended the funeral of the Catholic Cardinal Basil Hume. She also includes other faiths and has met leaders from the Hindu, Muslim and Jewish faiths on many occasions.
In the Queen’s speeches she cites the ‘Parable of the Good Samaritan’’. She believes that small actions can cascade into major changes. In 1975, she said:
“It does matter therefore what each individual does each day. Kindness, sympathy, resolution, and courteous behaviour are infectious. Acts of courage and self-sacrifice, like those of the people who refuse to be terrorised by kidnappers or hijackers, or who defuse bombs is an inspiration to others.
And the combined effect can be enormous. If enough grains of sand are dropped into one side of a pair of scales they will, in the end, tip it against a lump of lead.”
Dignity and diplomacy
The Queen is our Constitutional Monarch, head of the Commonwealth of Nations and head of the Church of England. She is obliged to meet people including despotic Heads of State. She has kept her thoughts to herself .The former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks met the Queen many times and said:
“Her presence and her family’s role as the human face of national identity is one of the great unifying forces in Britain, a unity we need all the more, the more diverse religiously and culturally we become.”
Honours for all
The Queen personally confers honours on more than 2,000 people a year who have contributed to our society. In her Christmas broadcast in 1980 she said:
“Some people choose their occupation so that they can spend their lives in the service of their fellow citizens. We see doctors, nurses and hospital staff caring for the sick; those in the churches and religious communities; in central and local government; in the police and in the courts and prisons; in industry and commerce.
It is the same urge to make a contribution which drives those seeking the highest standard in education or art, in music or architecture.
Others find ways to give service in their spare time, through voluntary organisations or simply on their own individual initiative, contributing in a thousand ways to all that is best in our society.”
The Queen inherited her work, but has chosen to do it in a kind and generous way supporting others to create a better world for all.
Historic moments during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign
- 1950s Post war reconstruction and creation of consumer society/welfare state
- 1960s affluent society, music and liberal social changes
- 1973 Britain joins the European Union
- 1989 The World Wide Web established
- 2001 9/11 Attacks on Twin Towers (New York)
- 2011 Visit to the Republic of Ireland
- 2012 Diamond Jubilee
- 2020 Britain leaves the EU
- 2020 COVID 19 Pandemic
- 2021 Her husband, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh dies aged 99
- 2021 America and NATO allies abandon Afghanistan
- 2022 Russia invades Ukraine, prompting concerns of major war in Europe
Interesting facts about Queen Elizabeth II
Born on 21st April 1926 in London, Elizabeth became queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on 6 February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI (1895–1952).
Educated by tutors at home and never went to University. She speaks fluent French.
1997 Tony Blair became the first British Prime Minister born during Queen’s reign.
She loves dogs and has owned over 40 Welsh Corgis during her reign.
When visiting the Royal Dartmouth Naval College on 22nd July 1939 she met Captain Philip Mountbatten, her cousin once removed. They eventually married at Westminster Abbey. They began married life at Windlesham Moor near Windsor Castle. Her immediate family consists of:
1948 Prince Charles born at Buckingham Palace, London.
1949 Princess Anne born at Clarence House, London
1964 Prince Andrew, her third child born
1969 Prince Edward, her fourth child born
2021 On Friday 9th April, her husband Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh dies aged 99
2022 Prince Andrew becomes a private citizen
Queen Elizabeth was the first female member of the Royal Family to serve in the military, training as a truck mechanic during World War Two ( 1939-1945). She has maintained her long association with the armed forces attending Royal British Legion ‘Festival of Remembrance’ throughout her reign.
Brixham Celebrations to be enjoyed!
4. Major events in the Queens reign
The Queen has reigned for over seven decades of change in all our lives
|Her father King George VI dies and Elizabeth becomes Queen
The Korean War ends but an era of ‘cold war’ begins until fall of USSR in 1982
|The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey after mourning period
|The Suez Crisis, when Britain and France seized the Suez Canal in Egypt- but later retreated
|Harold Macmillan as Prime Minister and ‘Swinging Sixties’ era of hippy and youth culture
|Political Scandal with the Profumo Sex Scandal affair destroying trust in politicians
|The Cuban Missile Crisis in which world came close to Nuclear War with USSR
|America escalates involvement in Vietnam but UK remains out of conflict
End of compulsory military conscription to British armed forces
|Barbara Castle becomes first female Secretary of State in Labour Government
|First American astronauts land on the surface of the moon
Rioting in Northern Ireland and first deployment of British troops which was to last 30 years
|On 30 January 1972 on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Northern Ireland British Soldiers shot 26, killing 14
Civilians on a protest march against Internment without trial
|America pulls out of Vietnam which falls to the Communists
|The Queen’s son Prince Charles is invested as Prince of Wales
The Queen opens the Summer Olympics in Montreal, Canada
|The Queen celebrates her Silver Jubilee on her 25th anniversary as Queen
|Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
|Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer in one of the most popular weddings in history
The Queen as head of Anglican Church receives Pope John Paul II on his visit to England
|The Falklands War – 10 week UK /Argentina conflict in South Atlantic
Queen’s second son Prince Andrew serves in conflict as Navy Pilot
|The Queen visits Brixham, Devon to mark the 300th anniversary of ‘Glorious Revolution’
|Gulf War saw the largest single deployment of British troops since World War 2
|Queen called this year her ‘annus horribilis’, or ‘disastrous or unfortunate year’
Prince Charles formally separated from his wife Lady Diana
Princess Anne divorced her husband
Prince Andrew separated from his wife
Windsor Castle caught fire and suffered extensive damage
Princess Anne married Timothy Laurence, a Royal Navy Commander
|Princess Diana is killed in a car crash in Paris and mourned by the nation
Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech the day before Diana’s funeral watched by millions
|Signing of Good Friday Agreement ending 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland and installation of devolved Power Sharing Executive in Stormont
|Attack on USA by terrorists using 4 commercial hijacked air-planes, New York World Trade Centre
Twin Towers destroyed killing 3,000 people and injuring 6,000
George W. Bush (USA) and Tony Blair (UK) agreed to invade Afghanistan
Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry serves in conflict zone in 2008 and 2012
|The Queen’s mother passes at the age of 101
Her sister, Princess Margaret dies at the age of 71
Elizabeth II celebrates her Golden Jubilee marking her 50th year as Queen
|The second Gulf War invasion began on 19 March and lasted just over one month
|Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles
|Prince William married to Catherine Middleton
Queen makes historic visit to Irish Republic which broke away from UK in 1922
|Elizabeth l l celebrates her Diamond Jubilee for 60 years as monarch
Elizabeth II opened the London Olympic Games
|The Queen celebrated her 90th birthday
The Queen meets Martin McGuiness, alleged Former Head of Provisional IRA
|Agreement that Prince Charles should succeed Queen as head of the Commonwealth
A son, Louis Arthur Charles was born to Prince William and Catherine
Elizabeth attended the wedding of her grandson, Prince Harry to Meghan Markle
|Queen Elizabeth II became the oldest reigning monarch in the World
|The Queen’s grandson, Prince Harry and his wife Meghan announced that they would be stepping back from being senior royals and divide their time between the UK and America
|(5th April) Queen Elizabeth II broadcasts to the Commonwealth in the face of the Coronavirus
|(8th May) Queen Elizabeth II made a broadcast to the British Commonwealth to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day (Victory in Europe Day)
|Queen and husband Prince Phillip have the Astra Zenca Coronavirus Jab to encourage public
HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh dies on 16th April at the age of 99
|22nd February Russian forces invade Ukraine in a move that shocked the world
People the Queen has met
The Queen has always looked outwards toward her people beginning with her coronation vows and in her 21st birthday radio address:
“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 the great imperial family to which we all belong.
But I shall not have the strength to carry out this resolution alone unless you join in it with me, as I now invite you to do: I know that your support will be unfailingly given.
God help me make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.