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Opinion

The Queen

A GREAT BRITISH VIEW - Daniel Pruce - The Philippine Star

A few days from now in the UK, The Queen will mark her official birthday with the traditional Trooping of the Colour ceremony on Horseguards Parade in London. It is a great occasion of traditional British pageantry and a national celebration of The Queen, her reign and of the values the United Kingdom represents.

On 4 June, in Manila, the British Embassy – like many other British Embassies and High Commissions around the world – held its own celebration of The Queen’s Birthday. Like the official events in London our evening was a moment to celebrate.

Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952, following the death of her father, George VI. Her coronation took place in 1953.

She is the world’s longest serving monarch and has seen many changes in the UK and the wider world during her reign. The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy. So The Queen does not have the power to make laws or set policy. But she is an enormously significant figure in the institutional framework of the UK. I am “Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador”. So I am her representative here in the Philippines. She signed the letter of credence I presented to President Duterte shortly after my arrival in August 2017.

So her official birthday (she has her real birthday in April) is an opportunity to celebrate her constitutional role. But we also celebrate her remarkable lifetime of public service as Princess and Queen. She represents continuity and stability. She is a symbol of the values of freedom and tolerance the UK stands for. The British monarchy, led by The Queen, has evolved rapidly over the past half century. It has endured because it has modernised, while preserving the best of its traditions.

The royal family has remained a source of national pride and unity across the UK. The events of the royal calendar punctuate British public life and are increasingly celebrated around the world, far beyond the UK and the Commonwealth.

This Queen’s Birthday Party was also a chance to celebrate the UK more generally. We remain a modern, diverse and dynamic country. Proud of our past and confident about our future. A future that lies outside the EU but actively engaged with our partners in Europe and beyond. Like the Philippines, the UK has always been an outward looking nation. We will continue to be so – active in our membership of the UN Security Council, of NATO and of the many other international organisations to which we belong. We will build new and exciting trade and investment links with partners around the world. We will remain committed to supporting security, fostering prosperity and championing human rights. The UK will remain a truly global nation.

And, at the very centre of the democratic values my country holds dear, we will continue to defend the freedom of the media. The UK will continue to stand up for media freedom around the world.

And I look forward, during my posting here, to helping develop the links between the UK and the Philippines. We already have so many areas where we work together, including on the big global issues such as climate change and modern day slavery. I am confident we can do  even more to make our bilateral relations and our international collaboration richer, broader and deeper for years to come.

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(Daniel Pruce is the British Ambassador to the Philippines. Twitter @DanielPruce)

QUEEN ELIZABETH II

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