Britain honors its longest-serving monarch

Britain honors its longest-serving monarch
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Britain honors its longest-serving monarch
In a rare public appearance on Thursday, Queen Elizabeth II of Britain stepped out onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet a sea of Union Jack-clad well-wishers as waves of aircraft flew overhead.

The celebrations, a four-day affair of extravagant military parades, musical performances and ceremonial events, mark Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee — a recognition of her 70 years on the throne. President Emmanuel Macron of France and Barack Obama, the former U.S. president, were among the world leaders who gave video tributes.

While Elizabeth’s appearance by itself was a major story after the 96-year-old contracted the coronavirus and missed several public events because of a stretch of poor health, so were the family members she stood with. The three heirs to the throne stood alongside her: her eldest son, Prince Charles; his eldest son, Prince William; and William’s eldest son, Prince George. But William’s younger brother, Prince Harry, and the queen’s second son, Prince Andrew, were not present.

Background: The thinner ranks at Buckingham Palace fulfill a longtime strategy by Prince Charles to reduce the number of working royals — a concession to changing times and growing public resistance to the cost of supporting the royals.

Rare company: Only three monarchs — none of them women — have ever been documented to have reigned more than 70 years: Louis XIV of France, Johann II of Liechtenstein and Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.

Islam News