Happy Birthday Your Majesty!

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QUEEN ELIZABETH leaves Buckingham Palace in a horse drawn carriage in London on May 25, 2010. — REUTERS/SUZANNE PLUNKETT

ELIZABETH II, Queen of the United Kingdom, was born on April 21, 1926, as the eldest daughter of the then-Duke and Duchess of York, the future King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Born during her grandfather George V’s reign, she was born third in line to the throne, then her father ascended the throne in 1936, after her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated to prevent a constitutional crisis in his desire to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson.

BusinessWorld attended the Queen’s Birthday Party at the Manila Polo Club earlier this week, organized by the British Embassy. The menu was traditional and included Welsh Rarebit, Toad-in-the-Hole, Cumberland Sausage Rolls, Roast Beef (more than 100 kilograms of it), and trifle, ice cream, cupcakes, and a birthday cake.

The British Ambassador to the Philippines, Daniel Pruce said in a speech, “We are here tonight to celebrate the 93rd birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We pay tribute to her remarkable lifetime of service to the United Kingdom, first as Princess Elizabeth and then as queen since 1952.”

While the Queen was born on April, she officially gets two birthdays: her actual birthday and one usually in June. The tradition of celebrating official birthdays started with one of her ancestors, King George II. Apparently, the queen used to celebrate her birthday on the second Thursday of June, the same day as her father, George VI used to do. The monarch’s birthday has been usually celebrated in June, thanks to another modification by her great-grandfather King Edward VII, who was born in winter and wanted favorable weather for his own birthday celebrations. The schedule has changed since 1959, now she celebrates it on the second Saturday of June, which on this year falls on June 8. The day will be marked in the United Kingdom with the ceremony of Trooping the Color.

“Over the seven decades of her reign, she has seen many changes in the United Kingdom,” said the ambassador in his speech. In her lifetime, the Queen has seen a world war, several conflicts, the creation of the European Union, the transformation of the British Commonwealth, and several reforms in parliament. On more personal notes, there have been children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, as well as multiple marriages and divorces within her family. “The United Kingdom will remain a modern, diverse, dynamic country, proud of our past, confident about our future, open to and welcoming of the rest of the world. We will remain an active and energetic member of the international community, advancing prosperity, security, the rule of law, promoting sustainable growth and advocating the rights and principles that we believe in,” said Mr. Pruce. On the then-Princess Elizabeth’s 21st birthday, the future queen made a speech from Cape Town in South Africa. “I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.” The British Empire is officially gone, replaced by the British Commonwealth. The Queen and her promise live on. — JLG