The task of the Lord-Lieutenant is to ‘uphold the dignity of the crown’. That ‘dignity’ flows directly from Her Majesty and the impeccable way in which she has served the nation for 60 years. It is a tremendous privilege to represent the Queen in Norfolk, and to witness at first hand the way in which she and the other members of the Royal Family carry out their duties on their visits to the county. On other occasions I am required to undertake assignments, such as presenting awards or medals, on behalf of the Queen and I am always struck by the obvious respect and affection shown by all those involved in such ceremonies.
When the Queen acceded to the throne in 1952 I was eight – just old enough to remember the very different world of those days when the country was getting back on its feet after the horrors of the Second world war. The images of the coronation, a year later, which are currently being replayed on television in the run up to the Diamond Jubilee, remind us all of the calm and serious way in which this beautiful young woman accepted the responsibilities which fell upon her and made her vows of service to the nation.
We should all be grateful for the way in which the Queen has adapted and modernised the monarchy throughout the reign to reflect what is required by society. Whilst, inevitably, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will involve a great deal of looking back over the last 60 years, I have no doubt that the Queen will continue to look forward, whilst as ever maintaining the characteristics that have drawn so many towards her.
And how proud all of Norfolk can be that the Queen chose to start her Jubilee year by going to Kings Lynn on February 6th, the day of accession, to receive a loyal address. And how typical of her fondness for the public, that after the formality and splendour of the Town Hall proceedings she should visit the children at Dersingham infant and primary school on her way home. It was touching to hear of the primary school child presenting the Queen with a bouquet at the Town Hall: "I was honoured to do it and she was very nice". The way the Queen continues to excite generation after generation of school children is marvellous, and not something which is confined to Norfolk, as we have seen from images of the Jubilee tour up and down the country.
Closer to home,
there is no doubt that the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh love their home at
Sandringham, following the opinion of her father, George V, who described his
Norfolk residence as ‘dear old Sandringham, the place I love better than
anywhere in the world.’ Sandringham Parish Church also enjoys its role as the
Queen’s place of worship at Christmas and Easter festivals, a brilliant honour
for the village to host the Defender of the Faith at the most important periods
in the Anglican calendar. It is no doubt that the Norfolk people feel a
special relationship with the Royal family due to the amount of time that the
Royal Household spends in the county. 2012 really is a year of celebration
for our county, started her Majesty in February and continuing through the
summer as the Olympic Torch passes through the county in July, proud moments
for such a patriotic county as Norfolk.