Britains' Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee today by paying tribute to the British virtues of “resilience, ingenuity and tolerance”, and to the Duke of Edinburgh, her “constant strength and guide” over the decades.
In a landmark address to both Houses of Parliament the monarch repeated her vow made on Accession Day in February to “rededicate myself to the service of our great country”.
In the ancient Westminster Hall the monarch stood to give her address, telling MPs and peers that since she came to the throne she has been a regular visitor to the Palace of Westminster.
She added: “During these years as your Queen, the support of my family has, across the generations, been beyond measure.
“Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide.”
This was the monarch’s sixth address to both Houses of Parliament. She gave similar speeches in celebration of her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and Silver Jubilee 25 years earlier in 1977.
Among the guests was Prime Minister David Cameron, some members of his Cabinet, former premiers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
The monarch reflected on the ancient setting for her address: “We are reminded here of our past, of the continuity of our national story and the virtues of resilience, ingenuity and tolerance which created it.
“I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come.”
The Queen also reflected on following in the footsteps of the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, Queen Victoria in 1897.
She said: “So, in an era when the regular, worthy rhythm of life is less eye-catching than doing something extraordinary, I am reassured that I am merely the second sovereign to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.”
During the event a Diamond Jubilee window – a gift from the members of both Houses – was unveiled to mark the monarch’s 60-year reign.
It will be installed above the North Door of Westminster Hall later this year.