Queen marks milestone with new vow
The Queen has marked the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne by renewing her pledge to serve the nation and its people.
Echoing the famous words she delivered when a young princess in the 1940s, the monarch declared on the day of her Diamond Jubilee to "dedicate myself anew to your service".
The sovereign issued a heartfelt message to the nation, thanking all those who had given "wonderful support and encouragement" to her and the Duke of Edinburgh over the past six decades.
The monarch stated she and Philip had been "deeply moved" by the many kind messages they had received about her 60-year milestone, and her statement carried a unifying message as she hoped this "special year" would remind the nation of the "convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness".
The 85-year-old sovereign's statement of intent to continue to serve the nation reveals she has lost none of her desire to fulfil her role as head of state despite her advancing years.
David Cameron has led the tributes to the Queen, highlighting her "magnificent service" and how she has guided and united the country and Commonwealth with her "experience, dignity and quiet authority".
The Prime Minister added: "You sometimes hear people talk as if the monarchy was simply a glittering ornament, a decoration on our national life. That misunderstands our constitution and it underestimates our Queen. Always dedicated, always resolute and always respected, she is a source of wisdom and continuity."
When the Queen acceded to the throne as a young woman following the death of her father George VI on February 6 1952, the country was almost unrecognisable from today. Britain was still gripped by rationing, and the country bore the scars of six years of war against the Nazis.
Five years earlier, during a visit to South Africa, on her 21st birthday - April 21 - she had vowed to serve the Commonwealth. Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, said: "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 Queen, obviously conscious of this pledge, said in her message released today: "In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighbourliness, examples of which I have been fortunate to see throughout my reign and which my family and I look forward to seeing in many forms as we travel throughout the United Kingdom and the wider Commonwealth."