Queen's Jubilee Speech Praises Prince Philip, Politicians And The Armed Forces

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: 20/03/2012 11:43 Updated: 20/03/2012 12:56

Queen Westminster
The Queen Was Speaking At Westminster Hall Before Both Houses Of Parliament

The Queen has paid tribute to public servants, the armed forces and her family at Westminster, responding to the Loyal Address by Parliamentarians for the monarch's diamond jubilee.

A bright spring morning at Westminster saw the Queen address both houses of Parliament, accompanied by Prince Philip. In her speech the Queen paid particular tribute to her husband, who she said was "well known for declining compliments of any kind.

"Throughout he has been a constant strength and guide. He and I are very proud and grateful that the Prince of Wales and other members of our family are travelling on my behalf in this Diamond Jubilee year, to visit all the Commonwealth realms and a number of other commonwealth countries."

There was laughter and applause when the Queen said: "At the last count I have had the pleasurable duty of treating with twelve Prime Ministers."

She added: "The happy relationship I have enjoyed with parliament has extended well beyond the more than three and-a-half thousand Bills I have signed into law."

The Queen made her address in Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster which has stood since Norman times.

"We are reminded here of our past, of the continuity of our national story," she said. "The virtues of resilience, tolerance that created it. I have been privileged to have witnessed some of that history, and with the support of my family re-dedicate myself to that service – now and in the years to come."

"Over such a period one can observe the experience of venerable of old age can be a mighty guide, but not a prerequisite for success in public office. I am therefore very pleased to be addressing many younger parliamentarians, and also those bringing such a wide range of background and experience to your vital political work."

She added: "As we reflect on public service, let us again be mindful of the remarkable sacrifice and courage of our armed forces. Much may have indeed changed over the past 60 years. The valour of those in defence of our freedom remains undimmed."

Unlike previous jubilee addresses - which the Queen has used to make significant points - this speech was without any hint of controversy. In 2002 the Queen used her response to the Loyal Address to signal that she would never abdicate.

And in 1977 for her Silver Jubilee her speech made a passionate call for the UK to remain intact.

MPs and peers presented the Queen with a stained glass window which they commissioned for her diamond jubilee. It will be fitted above the main entrance to Westminster Hall, and features the Queen's coat of arms.

Commenting on her gift from parliamentarians the Queen said: "Should this beautiful window cause just a little extra colour to shine down on this ancient place I should gladly settle for that."

Opening his speech the Speaker of the Commons, John Bercow spoke of how proud MPs were to contribute to the window, saying: "Time is better preserved in this historic place than in fallible human memory."

"If, as Gandhi asserted, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others, then your majesty must have found yourself countless times.

"You have moved with the times, and allowed the times to move around the rest of society," said Bercow, describing the monarch as "a kaleidoscope queen in an kaleidoscope country in a kaleidoscope Commonwealth."

The Lords Speaker, Baroness d'Souza, told Westminster Hall: "The monarchy is an integral part of our national life today as it was 60 years ago.

"We rejoice in this jubilee and give thanks for all it represents."

"We look forward to the years to come, and we pray that you and your realms continue to enjoy the peace, plenty and prosperity that have so distinguished your reign."

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