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Long to reign over us; Denis Kilcommons Looking at life with our ever-popular columnist

TOMORROW the Queen becomes the United Kingdom's longest reigning monarch after 63 years, seven months and two days.

The world has seen amazing changes since the young Elizabeth succeeded her father in 1952.

The greatest surprise to some is that we still have a monarchy.

Other countries view our relationship with a Queen, princes and titled aristocracy as an anachronism waiting to implode.

The United States thinks we are a Disneyland franchise. We are a democratic country, for goodness sake. We boast we are the mother of parliaments and yet we have a constitutional monarch who was not elected and sits on her throne by an accident of birth.

Elizabeth was born into her predestined future in an age when Britain still had an empire and we had been used to monarchs for 1,000 years.

She had no choice: she was lumbered with the role.

It was as a teenager that she and her family forged its links with ordinary people. During the Second World War, King George and his wife stayed in London to suffer the Blitz despite being urged to leave. They were in residence when Buckingham Palace was bombed.

When she was old enough Princess Elizabeth joined the ATS and learned to drive and maintain heavy vehicles.

As invasion threatened, her mother, the Queen, took pistol lessons. On VE Day the princess anonymously joined the crowds in the city celebrations.

This may be a long time ago, but it is where the deep affection for her is rooted.

In the years since, the Queen has proved herself a woman of duty, a rock of national stability and, at the age of 89, still works incredibly hard for her nation and her people.

She is a woman with a sense of purpose, rather than destiny, whose greatest achievement is to have maintained the monarchy despite domestic family disasters and changing attitudes.

She is a queen who quite rightly does not have a common touch - that is not part of the job description. But she does have a real and genuine affinity with her people that is deeply reciprocated.

If there was ever threat of invasion, you sense she, too, would take pistol lessons.

The role of royals may change after she is gone. Hangers-on may be pruned and the public mood may become less ambivalent.

But even as a closet republican I am happy to say long may she reign over us.

There will never be her like again.

"She is a woman with a sense of purpose, rather than destiny."


A Cecil Beaton |portrait of a young Queen Elizabeth

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Title Annotation:Editorial; Opinion Columns
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Sep 8, 2015
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