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Queen Elizabeth II marks 70 years on the throne

Monday 7 February 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in On the Street, Opinion

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Queen Elizabeth II marks 70 years on the throne
CREDIT: MARK CUTHBERT/UK PRESS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Sunday, February 6 was an auspicious day for many reasons and one of great note and achievement was that of the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II ascension to the throne of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in 1952 following the death of her father King George VI, writes Ruta Mave.

The princess was 25 and on a royal visit to Kenya when she heard of the sudden death of her father. He had reluctantly taken over the throne in 1936 after the abdication of his older brother Edward VIII who renounced the throne so he could marry the twice divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson.

In 1939 the British Empire declared war on Nazi Germany throwing Albert George known as Bertie into the public arena. His life and rise in popularity with the common people is shown in the movie ‘The King’s Speech’ where he is shown to overcome a stammer that had limited his ability to speak well in public. His sudden death at the age of 56 was related to health problems from smoking.

Queen Elizabeth II will be the first ever British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee and the first to accede while overseas in 200 years. Her actual coronation followed on 2 June 1953 in Westminster Abbey when she was 27. Even though this is the day of her ascension, the Queen does not wish to celebrate it as it is also the day of the death of her father. Hence the Platinum Jubilee will thus be held on Friday 3 June. Many of the lives and trials of the monarchs have been set in films and TV shows over the years.

She is 95 years old and recently lost her husband His Royal Highness the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh whom she married when she was 21 years and he was 25 years. Their marriage lasted 74 years until his death last April 2021, he was 99 years old.  The Duke did not become a King when his wife took the throne due to a royal rule which states that a man who marries a reigning Queen will be known as the Prince consort. 

The Platinum jubilee will be celebrated starting Friday June 3, a national baking competition will be held to find a new pudding dedicated to the Queen. The Queens’ birthday parade (Trooping the Colour) with over 1400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians will come together to watch the traditional fly over by the RAF Royal Airforce. In New Zealand and Cook Islands, we traditionally celebrate Queen’s Birthday June 1st every year despite her actual birthday being April 21 1926.

In New Zealand, February 6 is a national holiday to mark the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840 by Captain William Hobson RN as consul for the British crown of which Queen Victoria sat on the throne, and on the day 40 Northern Maori chiefs signed the English text. Later a Maori version was circulated around the country and up to 530 chiefs signed the Maori version including 13 women. Problems became apparent when the translation of English to the written Maori of the time did not correlate the same meanings especially in relation to the meaning of having and ceding sovereignty. These differences contributed to the NZ wars of 1845 to 1872 and continued through to the Treaty of Waitangi settlements starting 1990.

On the 182nd anniversary this year’s in person events for Waitangi Day were cancelled due to the spread of Covid-19. Approximately 40,000 people attend the ceremonies starting with a dawn service, this year speeches will be moved online. Pita Tipene, chairman of the Waitangi National Trust Board, said without the usual crowds and blazing sun this year’s anniversary was surreal under drizzly skies, he likened it to a forest without any birdsong or cicadas. The rain he said was unusual and was a tohu, a sign as ‘weeping water’ – a positive sign for reflection and change. 

While these are momentous moments in time for many, for many others’ the day marks the birth of Bob Marley and so three days of music shall follow.

He left the world with some heartfelt thoughts on life.

He said: “Open your eyes, look within. Are you satisfied with the life you’re living? The greatness of man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind. Flee from hate, mischief and jealousy.  Don’t bury your thoughts, put your vision to reality. Wake up and Live!”

His last words to his son sum up his attitude to life – “Money don’t buy life”. His insight to money for the people – “Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.” This is equally good advice for those in power – “Don’t gain the world and lose your soul; wisdom is better than silver or gold.”