70 Years of serving God….

This month we are celebrating the Platinum Jubilee of our Queen, Queen Elizabeth II.  To have been Queen, to have done all she has, and been who she is for 70 years, is a tremendous achievement. Along with everyone up and down the country, we can here in Bishop’s Waltham and Upham give thanks for her long reign.

I am sure much is going to be said about the Queens reign over the past 70 years, but here are just a few highlights that you might find of interest about her:

1.Queen Elizabeth II was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 to her parents the Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother).

  1. She became Queen on 6th February 1952 and her Coronation on 2 June 1953 was watched by a TV audience of 20 million people.
  1. She is the longest reigning monarch ever in Britain, beating even Queen Victoria, who was her great great grandmother.
  1. As Queen, she has been served by no less than 14 UK Prime Ministers including Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher and now currently Boris Johnson.
  1. Her favourite dogs are corgis and she has looked after over 30 in her life time!
  1. She’s the only person in the UK allowed to drive without a licence and has been driving until very recently.
  1. The Queen has two birthdays. Her actual birthday on the 21st April and the monarch’s official birthday which is a ceremonial occasion held on a Saturday in June, when the weather’s better!
  1. The Queen first sent an email in 1976 (well before most of us) and published her first Instagram post in 2019.
  1. She has many hobbies including horse riding, pigeon racing, and football and you might not know she is an Arsenal supporter!
  1. Our Queen became a ‘homeowner’ at just six years old when the people of Wales gifted her a house in the grounds of Windsor’s Royal Lodge. Named ‘Y Bwthyn Bach’, it means ‘little cottage’.
  1. The Queen has sent around 50,000 Christmas cards and is still counting!
  1. She owns an elephant, two giant turtles, a jaguar and a pair of sloths which are just some of the presents she has received from other countries, all of which live in London Zoo!

I am sure you can think of many other things about our Queen, but interesting facts to one side, the most amazing thing about her of course has been, and still is, her wonderful service to her God and to her country.

At her coronation she promised to ‘govern her people well, to uphold the laws of God and to profess the Christian Gospel’. In her example of life and in her words, most notably heard in her annual Christmas message, she has been faithful to her promise and for which we can be very thankful.

So, what makes for a good queen or any kind of leader? It is not someone who acts and rules as if they are Lord over all or the ultimate leader, but will be someone who like the Queen leads humbly under God and with God’s help – God is the leader of the world and life. As she said at her coronation: “The things which I have here before promised, I will perform and keep. So help me God.”

Finally, you might not know, but The Queen is head of the Church of England of which I am part, and I am certainly proud of the example she has set in serving God, serving people, upholding good law and professing the Christian Gospel. If you were to choose a leader to follow the example of, in my view you will not find better than our Queen.

With my prayers for June and your Platinum Celebrations.      Revd James        Rector of St Peter’s and Blessed Mary

31st May 2022

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