Saturday, 16 June 2007
Happy Birthday Ma'am!
Today we officially celebrate the birthday of Our Sovereign Lady, HM The Queen.* Her Majesty is the fourth longest reigning Sovereign in British history, surpassed only by Queen Victoria, King George III and King Henry II (in England) and by Queen Victoria, King George III and King James VI (in Scotland).
As she has done every year of her reign save 1955, Her Majesty today took the salute at Trooping the Colour; thus continuing the historic ceremony which, in its current form, dates back to 1748 and which affords Her Majesty and Her Majesty's armed forces the opportunity to pay tribute to each other.
This year is particularly noteworthy as it is the 60th anniversary of The Queen's first participation in Trooping the Colour: in 1947 the then Princess Elizabeth, as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, rode behind her father, King George VI, as he inspected the troops for the first Trooping the Colour for 7 years.
At this time, it is perhaps appropriate to recall the great cry of a thousand voices which greeted The Queen from all corners of Westminster Abbey immediately following the homage paid by the Princes and Peers of the Realm:
"God Save Queen Elizabeth!
Long Live Queen Elizabeth!
May the Queen Live For ever!"
Happy birthday Ma'am!
* Other realms celebrate the official birthday of HM The Queen on different dates. In Canada The Queen's Official Birthday falls upon Victoria Day, which is the Monday on or before May 24 (the date of the old Empire Day and the date of Queen Victoria's birth). Australia, except Western Australia, celebrates The Queen's birthday on the second Monday in June. This date conflicts with Western Australia's "Founders Day" and consequently the Governor of Western Australia proclaims a separate date for The Queen's birthday (usually the last Monday in September or the first Monday in October). New Zealand celebrates The Queen's birthday on the first Monday in June. The Queen's Official Birthday is a public holiday in Bermuda and Gibraltar; and it is interesting to note that despite being a republic, Fiji continues to celebrate The Queen's birthday.