This weekend will see the pinnacle of the celebrations that have been taking place across Britain and throughout the Commonwealth in 2012 to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Her 60 years on the throne have been characterised by a quiet but strong faith, writes Anthony Symondson SJ, who describes the unique element of the coronation rite upon which the Queen’s understanding of her role as a vocation is founded.
Attitudes to the English monarchy wax and wane. Queen Victoria bestrode the course of youthful popularity, extreme dislike during her widowhood, to universal adulation on her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Queen Elizabeth II has had to endure prying into her and her family’s private lives on a scale previously unknown in history. The media tries to manipulate public attitudes at times of crisis, notably in the immediate aftermath of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in order to misrepresent her. Yet the real feeling of the nation invariably recurs at times of national celebration or mourning associated with landmarks in her reign. Her Golden Jubilee in 2002 was a triumph that is said to have surprised her. The death of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, earlier that year brought pageantry and sorrow unknown since the death of King George VI in 1952; television cameras picked out people of all generations praying in the street. The wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last year brought crowds in jubilant mood on the ceremonial route and gave the nation a lift at a time of economic hardship.
To read more of Fr Anthony's piece on Thinking Faith see: www.thinkingfaith.org/articles/20120531_2.htm
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