Queen Elizabeth II vows continued service in Diamond Jubilee speech to Parliament
(CBS/AP) LONDON - Queen Elizabeth II praised the British virtues of "resilience, ingenuity and tolerance" and vowed to rededicate herself to the service of her country Tuesday in a speech before Parliament marking her 60-year reign.
In a ceremony filled with pomp and circumstance and redolent with symbolism, the monarch was driven to London's Westminster Palace to address members of both houses of Parliament, as well as assorted dignitaries. A new stained glass window was also unveiled in her honor.
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The 85-year-old queen, dressed in a yellow coat and matching hat, largely stuck to the royal speechbook - paying tribute to Parliament, her family, and Britain's armed forces. But in its references to the 12 prime ministers she had dealt with and the 3,500 bills she had signed into law, she underlined both the length and the stability of her tenure as Britain's head of state.
"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," she told the gathering. "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."
She is only the second British monarch to reach the Diamond Jubilee milestone - Queen Victoria's reign lasted 63 years - a fact she acknowledged during her address.
"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," she said.
The queen also shared words of praise for her family, in particular her 90-year-old husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
"During these years as your queen, the support of my family has, across the generations, been beyond measure," she said. "Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide."
The speech is part of a year of celebrations to mark her Diamond Jubilee, which celebrates the six decades since she ascended to the throne in 1952.
The queen made similar speeches in Parliament to mark her Silver Jubilee in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee in 2002.
The main celebrations of her Diamond Jubilee weekend will be held from June 2-5.
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