Celebrations are ongoing across the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the platinum jubilee of the British Monarch. Queen Elizabeth II earned throngs of tributes from leaders around the world on the seventieth anniversary of her accession to the throne.
At age ninety-six, the Queen is considered the longest-reigning British monarch who has become one of history’s great acts of constancy.
Queen Elizabeth II was enthroned at age twenty-seven in 1953, a few years after the Second World War had almost brought the British Empire to its knees. Her coronation equally came at a time when the empire was losing grip on most of its colonies around the world.
At the beginning of her reign, Queen Elizabeth set out to make consistency and constancy the key pillars of her reign. Through her work as the figurehead of the Commonwealth of Nations, she helped the nation navigate new values of post-war realities, adjusting to the ideals of independence, equality amongst nations and the decline of colonialism.
In her Christmas message in 1953, Queen Elizabeth explained, “The Commonwealth bears no resemblance to the Empires of the past. It is an entirely new conception, built on the highest qualities of the spirit of man; friendship, loyalty and the desire for freedom and peace.”
For seven decades, Queen Elizabeth has succinctly steered the British monarchy through many a scandal, tragedy, and crisis, with level-headedness and stoicism that have earned her admiration among her subjects, growing the popularity of the British royal family around the world. Recently, with the frailty that comes with age, she has had to significantly cut back on her official roles, letting her first son and heir to the throne, Prince Charles, preside instead.
The platinum jubilee is a milestone for Queen Elizabeth, celebrated with much pageantry across four days. The ageing monarch is not attending some of the events scheduled for her jubilee due to health concerns. The palace reports that she has been having trouble walking, evidenced by her appearance with a walking stick as she led the lighting of the Platinum Jubilee Beacon from Windsor Castle, in a dual ceremony with her grandson, Prince William.
The Platinum Jubilee celebrations come at a time the world is facing numerous conflicts, the deadliest of them being Russia’s war in Ukraine that is threatening the very existence of NATO, affecting the global economy, and sowing seeds of a future conflict to redefine the current balance of global military power.
At the same time, the deadly armed conflict in the former UN Trust Territory of British Southern Cameroons, identified by the Norwegian Refugee Service as the World’s third most neglected crisis has brought the Commonwealth of Nations, under Queen Elizabeth’s aegis to greater scrutiny. The ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ has failed to address the humanitarian disaster in the Cameroons and bring the genocidal government of President Paul Biya to book. Rather, the British Crown and the Commonwealth Secretariat for that matter, engaged in a romance with Yaounde.
Zimbabwe and other Commonwealth members were axed on grounds generally seen as less egregious than what the Biya-led government is doing in the former UN Trust Territory of British Southern Cameroons.