This week The Queen addressed the United Nations for the second time. The first back in 1957. I’ve included video from both occasions and also reproduced below the Editorial from this week’s The Spectator Magazine. It is very hard to improve upon the sentiment they express.
“The Queen’s speech to the United Nations this week was a masterpiece. A forum which hears so much from politicians with, at best, a passing grasp of world affairs was treated to the views of a head of state with half a century of experience and wisdom. As she so rightly observed, the most ‘sweeping advances’ she has seen came not at the behest of governments but because ‘millions of people wanted them’.
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the UN, perfectly captured the characteristics of her triumphant reign: ‘grace, constancy and dignity’. ‘In a changing and churning world,’ he told the monarch, ‘you are an anchor for our age.’ She has stood apart from the emergence of a turbulent 24-hour news cycle, doing or saying nothing to bring the monarchy into disrepute, The standards she has quietly set become clearer still when the political class – and estranged members of the royal household – fall so woefully short of them.
Abroad, the record of her armed forces is also a source of tremendous national pride. Last month, the government of South Korea took out ads formally thanking Britain for its role in liberating that country at the cost of 996 lives. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the Afghan government might be conveying such thanks 60 years from now. The world, as represented by leaders gathered in the UN, is a safer and more prosperous place thanks to Britain’s engagement in it.
Britain is, yet again, thinking about constitutional change – holding a referendum on a voting system that would condemn us to insipid and indecisive coalitions. Strikingly absent from the debate is any call to abolish the monarchy. It is clear why, as the audience in New York could see: Britain is blessed with a monarch as admired abroad as she is loved at home. Long may she reign.’