The Queen, the servant

Trooping the Colour

Back in 1953, I was one of the 27 million viewers who watched The Queen’s coronation on tiny flickering black and white television sets.

It all came flooding back as I read a new book, published by a consortium of three Christian organisations – The Bible Society, HOPE, and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

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The Servant Queen and the King She Serves is a colourful and insightful collection of highlights from the life of Queen Elizabeth II, who celebrates her 90th birthday on April 21.

Many of the events identified are those which bring back memories of events seen on television, or, in those early days, on newsreel at the local cinema.

The book reminds us that the Queen is the longest serving British monarch, has never been to university but has advised 12 British Prime Ministers, and, even at 90, she still works a 40-hour week. She also employs 1,200 people – but feeds her own dogs.

It makes much of the Queen’s faith and Christian beliefs, which has been a major mark of her reign. As the Queen herself said in 2002: “I know just how much I rely on my faith to guide me through the good times and the bad…. I draw strength from the message of hope in the Christian gospel.”

The Queen herself writes a forward in which she identifies “the extent and pace of change has been truly remarkable. We have witnessed triumphs and tragedies. Our world has enjoyed great advances in science and technology, but it has also endured war, conflict and terrible suffering on an unprecedented scale.”

She points out that in her first Christmas Broadcast in 1952 she called on the people of the Commonwealth and Empire “to pray for me as I prepared to dedicate myself to their service at my Coronation.”

Taking her role as Head of State seriously the book points out how hard the Queen works, reading the red box of papers collated from the Prime Minister’s office every day except for Christmas and Easter and meeting the Prime Minister every week to express her views on governmental matters.

Copies of The Servant Queencan be obtained from CPO (01903 263354 or by email at sales@cpo.org.uk price £1 plus 8p fulfilment plus postage for one copy, for £10.80 for ten plus postage.

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