Queen’s speech in Parliament: ‘Be good neighbours for Diamond Jubilee’

13:01 20 March 2012

Queen Elizabeth II sits in Westminster Hall after addressing both Houses of Parliament as part of her visit to mark her Diamond Jubilee year

Queen Elizabeth II sits in Westminster Hall after addressing both Houses of Parliament as part of her visit to mark her Diamond Jubilee year

The Queen has called on people to be good neighbours and celebrate their communities to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

In an historic address to both Houses of Parliament today, she paid tribute to the British virtues of “resilience, ingenuity and tolerance”, and to the Duke of Edinburgh, her “constant strength and guide” over the decades.

The monarch repeated her vow made on Accession Day in February to “rededicate myself to the service of our great country”.

In the ancient Westminster Hall the monarch stood to give her address, telling MPs and peers that since she came to the throne she has been a regular visitor to the Palace of Westminster.

She added: “During these years as your Queen, the support of my family has, across the generations, been beyond measure.

“Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide.”

This was the monarch’s sixth address to both Houses of Parliament. She gave similar speeches in celebration of her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and Silver Jubilee 25 years earlier in 1977.

Among the guests was Prime Minister David Cameron, some members of his Cabinet, former premiers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and Labour leader Ed Miliband.

The monarch reflected on the ancient setting for her address: “We are reminded here of our past, of the continuity of our national story and the virtues of resilience, ingenuity and tolerance which created it.

“I have been privileged to witness some of that history and, with the support of my family, rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people now and in the years to come.”

The Queen also reflected on following in the footsteps of the only other monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, Queen Victoria in 1897.

She said: “So, in an era when the regular, worthy rhythm of life is less eye-catching than doing something extraordinary, I am reassured that I am merely the second sovereign to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee.”

The Queen has begun her national tour to mark her 60-year reign and said she hoped the Diamond Jubilee celebrations would “be an opportunity for people to come together in a spirit of neighbourliness and celebration of their own communities”.

The work of millions in the professional and voluntary services, whose efforts were for the pubic good, would also be recognised this year as would the “remarkable sacrifice and courage of our armed forces”.

She said: “Much may have indeed have changed these past 60 years but the valour of those who risk their lives for the defence and freedom of us all remains undimmed.”

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