Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee PDF Print E-mail

 

Mark Isherwood:When, as a loyal subject of Her Majesty the Queen, I celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977, little did I imagine that, 35 years later, I would have the honour of speaking in a debate on her Diamond Jubilee. This 85-year-old great grandmother first visited Wales 68 years ago as a princess and made her first visit as Queen after her accession to the throne in June 1952. She was inducted into the Welsh Gorsedd of the Bards at the 1946 National Eisteddfod. Even the gold for her wedding ring was from Wales.

 

As the embodiment of our island’s history, she crucially represents permanence and continuity in an uncertain and changing world. She has already worked with 12 Prime Ministers—second only to George III, who worked with 14, and two more than Queen Victoria—one First Secretary of Wales and two First Ministers of Wales. As we have heard, Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 independent countries. She is currently the head of state in 15 Commonwealth realms in addition to the UK and, incredibly, has worked with a combined total of 156 Prime Ministers during her reign. This, of course, does not cover Commonwealth nations that do not have the Queen as their head of state. From Australia to Antigua, Canada to Cameroon, the Commonwealth exists to foster international co-operation and trade links between people all over the world.

 

Whereas absolute monarchs serve as the sole source of political power, the UK has evolved into a constitutional monarchy employing a parliamentary system in which the monarch is the Government’s symbolic head. Thus, in Britain and Wales, the Queen reigns, whereas the Prime Minister and First Minister rule. The rebellion in 1070 by Hereward the Wake in England, in 1294 by Prince Madog in Wales and in 1297 by William Wallace in Scotland were all rebellions by Britons against Norman rule. Elizabeth II is a direct descendant of Henry VII, via his daughter Margaret, older sister of Henry VIII. Margaret married into the Scottish royal family and her direct descendant was James VI of Scotland, who succeeded Elizabeth I on the throne of England in 1603 and therefore became King James I of a United Kingdom.

 

5.30 p.m.

 

Henry VII came from an old-established Anglesey family, which claimed descent from Cadwaladr, who was, in legend, the last ancient British king. He was descended through the paternal line from Ednyfed Fychan, the seneschal or steward of Gwynedd, and through this seneschal’s wife from Rhys ap Tewdwr, the King of Deheubarth in south Wales. To the bards of Wales, Henry was a candidate for y mab darogan—the son of prophecy—who would free the Welsh from oppression. As such, when he ascended the throne, he reunited the Britons in the west with their fellow countrymen and countrywomen, y Cymry, in the lost lands to the east.

 

After the Queen’s visit to Wales in August 1960, the then MP George Thomas, later Viscount Tonypandy, felt compelled to condemn republican protesters, stating:

 

'The boycotters look pretty silly. Their collective announcement that they would stay away caused little more than a minor stampede...by people anxious to claim their vacant chairs.’

 

This clearly resonates today, when a discourteous and unrepresentative rump, united only in their quest to destroy Britain and betray the inheritance of centuries, seek to dismember the UK at home and emasculate it overseas.

 

The Queen’s visits have taken in almost every corner of Wales. They range from her declaration of pride in the Welsh history of the monarchy when, as a young girl, she stood by the statue of Henry VII in Cardiff’s City Hall, to her visit to the grieving community of Aberfan after the disaster of 1966. She has visited Royal Welsh Shows, met Welsh battalions and toured the country as part of her golden jubilee celebrations a decade ago. Her diamond jubilee visit included the wonderful service at Llandaff Cathedral, meeting members of Wales’s Grand Slam winning rugby team, a return to Aberfan, a tour of the Valleys and a diamonds in the park jamboree in Powys. In north Wales, celebrations include a service of thanksgiving at St Asaph Cathedral last Sunday, a diamond jubilee summer exhibition at Glynd?r University this Friday, a Queen’s jubilee event in Holywell this Saturday and a service for the Queen’s diamond jubilee at the Cathedral Church of Our Lady of Sorrows, Wrexham this coming Sunday.

 

Let us give thanks for the 60-year reign of Elizabeth our Queen, and pray for her continued health and wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promoted by Mark Isherwood AM at National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff, CF99 1NA

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