This week, the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realm, a sovereign state within the Commonwealth of Nations comprising of 16 countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica are celebrating an important milestone - Sixty years of the continuous reign of their beloved monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
Ironically, the now 86-year old who is only the second monarch to have reached this milestone after Queen Victoria, was not even considered to be in the line of succession. As the eldest daughter of the second son of King George V, she was third in line for the throne. However, fate had something entirely different planned for Princess Elizabeth of York, as she was known then.
Prince Edward, the elder son of King George V had to abdicate his right to be king, in order to marry the twice-divorced American socialite, Wallis Simpson. As a result the second son Prince Albert, (later known as King George VI), became king and Princess Elizabeth of York got elevated to second in the line of succession.
As it turned out, King George VI suffered from bad health and by the late 1940's the young princess began fulfilling a majority of his obligations. On February 6th, 1952, he passed on and Princess Elizabeth of York became the beloved Queen of England and many other parts of the world.
The 86-year-old Queen is married to Prince Phillip, who she fell in love with at the age of 13 and has 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Thanks to her good health and reluctance to give up the throne, her eldest son and heir apparent, Prince Charles who turned 63 in 2011, is currently the longest waiting and 2nd oldest ever heir apparent - In three years time he will take over as the oldest!
However, not only is the queen in no hurry to give up her throne, nor are her people. She still remains as beloved as she was 60 years ago. So, it is no wonder that Britain has spent the last four days celebrating this Golden Jubilee with great abandon. Most businesses were closed as people took to the streets celebrating with parades, concerts, festivals and street parties. If estimates are to be believed, over $1.3 billion USD was spent during the four-day event that ended on June 5th, 2012.
The only damper to the happy celebrations besides lousy weather, was the absence of Prince Phillip, who had to be rushed to the hospital with an infection. Hopefully, he will be able to join the Queen at her next milestone on September 10th 2015, when she will out reign her great-great-great grandmother Queen Victoria, and become the longest serving monarch in history.
While the British monarchy used to once have a say in the running of the country, it is now a largely symbolic position - One fulfilled by social and diplomatic commitments. However, Britain's royal family is greatly revered by the people of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth Nations - Something that is unlikely to change in the centuries to come.
Resources: Huffingtonpost.com, foxnews.com,britroyals.com