In Britain there is this unique tradition of celebrating the Queen’s official birthday in June even though Queen Elizabeth II is born on the 21 April. This year mark a special occasion for the Royal Family and British people as the Queen is celebrating her 80 birthday.
The official celebration included a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral followed by a lunch held by the Lord Mayor of London in Mansion House on Thursday 15th June and the traditional Trooping the Colour parade and taking the royal salute in front of Buckingham Palace on Saturday 17th June.
The Queen was accompanied by Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry for the service at St. Paul’s. Present were over 2000 guests including political figures such as Prime Minister Tony Blair and Lady Thatcher as well as a few celebrities such as Sir Cliff Richard, who broke with tradition and wore a purple suit. It was a Christian service with readings given by the Archbishop of Armagh, the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of London. It was, however, interesting to note that representatives from other religions were also present and the Prayers were led in turn by four High Commissioners from the Commonwealth, one of them being the High Commissioner for the Islamic republic of Pakistan.
On both these celebrations it is clear that the Queen is loved and respected by her people as there were large crowds gathering outside to catch a glimpse of her. At the Trooping the Colour parade the crowd gathered all along the route, clapping and cheering enthusiastically and sang Happy Birthday as her carriage past. Perhaps they are reflecting the sentiment that was voiced by Tony Blair that the British people are not simply celebrating “just a birthday but a lifetime of service” to Great Britain.
*By: Sranya B. Natalegawa
Image from: http://www.royal.gov.uk/output/page4817.asp