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Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th Birthday Marks 64 Years Of A Remarkable Reign

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HER Majesty Queen Elizabeth II turns 90 today. As we celebrate her longevity, it is hard not to acknow­ledge her remarkable reign of 64 years and counting, making her the longest reigning British monarch ever.

Since ascending to the throne in 1952, she has known 12 British prime ministers, from Sir Winston Churchill to David Cameron, and six Malaysian prime ministers, from Tunku Abdul Rahman to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak. While the world around us has changed so rapidly, the Queen has been the one constant.

In spite of that, the Queen has remained relevant all these years. Each year, she carries out hundreds of engagements around Britain, opens Parliament by delivering a speech that sets out the government’s agenda for the session, ho­­nours individuals at investiture cere­monies, leads remembrance services, supports over 600 charities and broadcasts her annual Christmas message, which has become part of the Christmas tradition in Britain today. She has an amazing work ethic and sense of duty.

She has successfully brought the British monarchy into the 21st century, not only in terms of the work that she does, but also how she does it. The Queen was the first monarch to have her coronation televised, and that was only the first of many modernisations she has made.

She sent her first e-mail in 1976, joined Facebook in 2010 and sent her first tweet in 2014. At the 2012 London Olympics, the Queen made a cameo appearance alongside James Bond; such an idea would have been unthinkable in the past. But it does underline her sense of fun and good humour.

According to a poll conducted by King’s College London this year, the Queen’s popularity is at its highest. It reveals that 75% of the people think the monarchy has an important role to play in Britain’s future.

Apart from being a source of national pride for Britain, the Queen is a unifying force for the entire Commonwealth family of 53 member states. She is a living reminder of our shared histories and core values.

The principles of the Common­wealth charter bind us as people. The freedoms and rights they enshrine, if adhered to, help ensure peace and harmony within our respective nations. Without them, it is harder to maintain stability and the conditions for economic deve­lopment and the advancement of our human capital.

The Queen visited Malaysia in 1972, 1989 and 1998. Her last two visits were for the 1989 Common­wealth Heads of Government Meeting and the 1998 Common­wealth Games hosted here.

As photos from these visits show, she engaged Malaysians from all walks of life, from royalty to students, underprivileged children, sports­men, civil society and representatives from the business community.

The next generation of British ro­­yals are following in her footsteps. In 2012, her Diamond Jubilee year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were a big hit when they visited Malaysia as her emissaries, part of a Commonwealth tour by senior members of her family to comme­morate this milestone anniversary of her reign.

As the representative of Her Ma­jesty’s government in Malaysia, I am honoured to represent her.

In her I find an inspirational role model as I seek to drive up our en­gagement with Malaysia and build on the longstanding ties between our two countries.

Our bilateral relationship matters and, as I know from my audience with Her Majesty last year, is one that she follows with keen interest.

Today, the relationship is one of partnership, underpinned by strong two-way trade and investment, education links, collaborations in scientific research, defence and security engagement. The top 24 British compa­­nies in Malaysia alone have invest­­ed over RM86bil in Malaysia and created around 80,000 jobs here.

Malaysian investors in Britain are also playing a key role in Britain’s economic transformation with success stories in regeneration projects such as Battersea Power Station. These are testaments that Britain and Malaysia are supporting each other’s economic development in very real terms.

On this very auspicious day, we therefore also celebrate the relationship between the United Kingdom and Malaysia, the history and future both nations share. The Queen has been part of our journey together as two nations. We celebrate Her Majesty’s longevity and well-being, her reign, her leadership and her inspiration as a role model.

Keep calm, she’s only 90 years young! Long live the Queen and may she carry on.

The writer is the British High Commissioner to Malaysia.

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