WITH the Jubilee weekend approaching, this really is a time for national celebration.
For 60 years, Her Majesty The Queen has served this country with incredible dedication and loyalty.
She has seen it as her calling and her duty, and the whole country owes her a massive debt of gratitude for all she has done.
In Parliament, we were privileged to welcome The Queen to Westminster Great Hall a few weeks ago, for the presentation of a new stained glass window, to celebrate the Jubilee.
As ever, she spoke with commitment, enthusiasm and gentle humour, focussing on how she has worked with every Prime Minister since Churchill.
That length of service has served this country incredibly well. In Kuwait recently, where the Amir is himself in his late 70s, I was told how well The Queen had known him, his father and his grandfather! And it is the length of those associations and friendships which have been so central to our close ties with so many countries around the world.
Of course, throughout this time, she has been so constantly supported by Prince Philip, who has been an extraordinary champion of young people and education – the Founder of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme and Outward Bound, which have done so much to bring a wealth of opportunities to young people, regardless of their backgrounds.
Growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s, there was always a lingering sense of republicanism. Together that has all but gone away and that is primarily due to the exceptional selfless service of one lady. As the nation joins together to thank her for all she has done for this country over 60 years, we are left in awe at her continuing commitment, dedication and energy. May the Jubilee events be a true celebration of her remarkable reign.