Last evening, June 4, 2012, Queen Elizabeth II was the guest of honour at a Buckingham Palace rock concert paying tribute to her Diamond Jubilee (marking 60 years on the throne). Her role as head of the Commonwealth is largely symbolic and ceremonial, and considered a psychological, uniting force for the people of these countries.
The Commonwealth is a voluntary group of countries that don’t have a say in each other’s politics and governance, and as head, the Queen wouldn’t say, “Do This” or Do That.” She has long kept her political views to herself. But like a non-governmental, international organization, Commonwealth members work together to maintain, promote and enhance their shared values, such as democracy, human rights and world peace. It’s all very warm and fuzzy.
Most of the countries have some connection to Britain, including, colonially. While some have joined over time, the Commonwealth goes back to the Statute of Westminster, in 1931. Member countries include Australia, Canada, Cameroon, India, Jamaica, Kenya and Singapore, among 47 more. Occasionally, countries debate their continuing ties to Her Majesty (Ireland and Zimbabwe have gone solo).
Solo artist Elton John chose an “on the nose” 1983 song of his to perform for the Queen. It’s about making comebacks despite setbacks. From the Latin, annus horribilis means ‘horrible year,’ a phrase designated by the Queen to refer to 1992. Most notably in this year, Diana, Princess of Wales, became separated from Charles, Prince of Wales. Another “Royal” back then was posing topless, and Windsor Castle – one of the Queen’s homes – caught fire.
Stevie Wonder also sang for the Queen, “Isn’t She Lovely.” How apropos! Less fitting, surely Sir Elton did not perform his “Candle in the Wind,” Princess Diana’s death tribute. Another knight, Sir Paul McCartney, played “Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da (Life Goes On).
As it will, for Queen Elizabeth II. May she have the continuing grace and patience to endure a lifetime of celebrations for this Diamond Jubilee over the next while. There will be a lot of bland sheet cake for supporters and celebrants to consume…