Many ambassadors sent in personal reflections on The Queen and the Diamond Jubilee. Here is a selection
HE Ambassador Khaled Al Duwaisan, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
May I mention first how deeply honoured and privileged to have witnessed this special and historic occasion of HM Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee, it is undoubtedly the international celebration throughout 2012 of the 60th anniversary to the throne.
It is a great pleasure to watch Her Majesty on her various city walkabouts meeting and greeting so many everyday
Citizens, who were happy to wait for hours just to see her.
We see a Head of State whose dedication and service to this nation, to her empire and to the Commonwealth, are extraordinary. We see a global Ambassador whose experience of international affairs and her skilled touch are the envy of diplomats the world over. No wonder she is so admired and loved. It is why – from the heart – we celebrate this ‘Diamond Queen’.
HE High Commissioner Ephraim W Ngare
We attribute the accrued social, political and economic benefits to the Members of the Commonwealth, to the focused leadership provided by Her Majesty. The Commonwealth stands out as a unique organisation amongst other international institutions.
As part of our national celebrations for Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, a beacon was also lit up at Treetops Aberdares in Nyeri County on 4 June 2012.
Once again, on behalf of the Government and the People of Kenya, we are pleased to join the other distinguished foreign countries in congratulating Her Majesty the Queen on Her successful 60 years on the throne.
COMMONWEALTH SECRETARY GENERAL
Mr Kamalesh Sharma
When The Queen came to the throne in 1952 there were eight Commonwealth member states. Today, there are fifty four – over two billion people encompassing a third of all humanity.
As Head of the Commonwealth Her Majesty has been the keystone of the vast Commonwealth arch which spans the globe. It is impossible to think or write of the modern Commonwealth without acknowledging the central part The Queen has played in its remarkable development.
Never before, and surely never again, has so diverse a group of nations, representing a third of the world’s population, been joined in free and voluntary association with the same Head for sixty years.
The Queen’s lifetime of service continues to inspire rising generations within the Commonwealth to build towards
a secure future in which all states are accorded equal respect, and in which there is equity and freedom of opportunity for all.
We are delighted that The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations will have at their heart the relationship between Her Majesty and the Commonwealth. A range of imaginative and innovative initiatives will ensure that arising from the festivities will be an enduring legacy of practical action that will help to lift the lives of young Commonwealth citizens around the world.
HE Ambassador János Csák
The warms relations between HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Hungary go back a long way: the Hungarian people still have fond memories of her Majesty, who paid a four-day State Visit to Hungary in 1993, her first official trip to a former Warsaw Pact member country.
The Queen might have recalled then that she was just 7 years old when she sat for her first portrait in 1933, which was commissioned by her mother and painted by the Hungarian artist Philip Alexius de Laszlo. At the invitation of Her Majesty the President of Hungary also paid a State Visit to the United Kingdom in 1999.
In this special year of celebration, I would like to express my most sincere best wishes to Her Majesty and the Royal Family.
HE Ambassador Emil Brix
My country has a very special relationship to her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee because the last jubilee of this kind in a European country took place in 1908 in Austria-Hungary to celebrate 60 years of the reign of Emperor Francis Joseph.
On this occasion celebrations took place throughout the monarchy to show the love and loyalty of the population. From children’s festivals in the streets of Vienna to the planting of more than 150,000 “jubilee trees” in the Tyrol, the festivities concentrated on two ideas: to support the work of charities and to have a lasting positive effect for the country.
Both objectives are certainly as relevant today as they have been for the Jubilee of Francis Joseph. Gustav Klimt organised in Vienna a jubilee exhibition of modern art and we also had a pageant. In the Austrian case it was not a flotilla on the Thames but a huge number of delegations from all corners of the multinational empire in their historical and traditional costumes which paraded in a festive pageant around the famous Vienna “Ringstrasse”.
In a quiet corner in my residence in Belgravia an emperor’s bust which had been commissioned for the Diamond Jubilee holds a special place as a reminder of times past.
HE Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza
This momentous occasion has a personal significance for me.
In the winter of 2010, I had the privilege of presenting my letters of credence to Her Majesty Elizabeth II. The ceremony by which an Ambassador presents his or her letters of credence to a Head of State is a moment that becomes permanently engraved in your memory. This is due not only to the enormous sense of responsibility that it entails, but also because of the honour that it confers on those representing their country abroad. It is undoubtedly a landmark in anyone’s personal and professional life.
When meeting Her Majesty I was impressed not only by her calm and kind charisma, but also because she is the embodiment of the UK’s heritage, values and identity.
In addition to the sense of the magnificence that pervaded that moment, there was also a personal note to it, one that – as I have mentioned – also makes this year particularly meaningful for me. Namely, that I was following the footsteps of my great grand uncle, Francisco A. de Icaza, who 60 years ago was the first Ambassador to present his letters of credence to Elizabeth II on 11 March, only a month after she was proclaimed Queen and Head of the Commonwealth.
In light of these considerations not only do I express my sincerest congratulations to the Her Majesty Elizabeth II for this most special occasion, but I also join the celebrations of a brilliant Diamond Jubilee.
HE Ambassador Bobby McDonagh
I consider myself very fortunate that my posting as Ireland’s Ambassador in London has coincided with the historic and spectacularly successful state visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to Ireland in May 2011.
The context for the first visit of a British monarch to an independent Ireland had been created by the gradual development over several decades of deeper and closer relations between Britain and Ireland: 40 years of shared membership of the EU, close cooperation between successive Governments in London and Dublin as co-guarantors of the Northern Ireland peace process, the extraordinarily close business and cultural relations, and the extensive family links and personal friendships.
However, although against this background expectations for the state visit were high, nobody could have fully predicted the profound and positive impact the visit would have in Ireland and Britain and on British-Irish relations.
It can now be said, without exaggeration, that two countries which perhaps more than any other two countries have been known over the centuries for their rivalry have now become the very closest of friends.
I believe that the visit also had a wider impact internationally, demonstrating as it did the potential for reconciliation in a world beset by so many tragic and seemingly intractable conflicts.
It was a unique honour for myself and my wife Mary to participate in the visit, to experience the excitement and to witness its impact at first hand. The personal contribution of Her Majesty to the success of the visit was immense as, of course, was that of President McAleese. The Queen won the admiration, respect and affection of the Irish people through her charm, energy and dignity as well as through her perfectly judged words (including in the Irish language).
HE High Commissioner Zola Skweyiya
The Commonwealth played a significant role in the international campaign against apartheid. This included the work undertaken by the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group that was created following the 1985 Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting as well as the sanctions agreed to, at the Special Commonwealth Summit held in 1986.
In 1991, the Queen broke precedent and invited Nelson Mandela (who was attending the Commonwealth Summit) to attend the Heads of State banquet; a profound gesture considering Mr Mandela was not yet a Head of State.