(CBS) CBS News royals contributor Victoria Arbiter, reporting from London, will be giving CBSNews.com readers daily updates on plans for the April 29 royal wedding.
Her Majesty, the Queen, turns 85 Thursday and her birthday kicks off what promises to be a spectacular 10 days for the royal family and the country as a whole.
It's incredible to think that of the Queen's 85 years, 59 have been spent as our reigning monarch. That's especially impressive when you consider that at the time of her birth, she wasn't destined for the throne.
The Queen has remained the one constant throughout her family's trials and tribulations, and generally the British are fiercely loyal and proud of her. She consistently demonstrates the very best of the British from her stoicism to her dedication to her country, and we are all the better for having her.
There are, of course, the naysayers who think we should get rid of the monarchy but I just can't imagine a Britain without them. The anti-monarchists quibble about the expense to the taxpayer and yet the royal family only costs each individual about a $1 a year. Most people have more than that between their sofa cushions. Our royals represent a vibrant and staggering history and I firmly believe that they are as relevant today as they were 1,000 years ago.
Since arriving in England, I have had the good fortune to see the Queen drive by on several occasions, always in a green Jaguar, and each time I have felt awe-inspired by even a brief glimpse. I can't wait to see her lead her family out onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace on April 29 to celebrate William and Kate's marriage.
It's been a long time since the Queen has had the opportunity to see an adoring crowd at the gates to the palace. Although the people will be there for the wedding, I can guarantee that the cheers will boom when the public lays eyes on the Queen. How joyous it will be for her to look out over her people and see the flags being waved with vigorous enthusiasm.
William and Kate's wedding has brought a much needed boost of optimism to the royal family and it couldn't be coming at a better time. What a glorious birthday gift to the Queen. So on behalf of all of us, happy birthday, Ma'am, and God Save the Queen!
Until next time, royalphiles, keep calm and carry on.
Read more by the Wedding Planner:
Keep up with Victoria Arbiter on Twitter.