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In honor of Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations that begin this weekend I would like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to the woman I consider my queen.

I am an American and to many people it may seem strange for an American to pay tribute to the queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. I am of Irish ancestry, and I am sure if you go back far enough there must be some English and Scottish blood coursing through my veins.

Ever since my late teens when I became interested in the concept of monarchy and the British monarchy specifically, I began to hold great respect for Her Majesty. Although she is the Sovereign and Head of Sate she is a woman who dedicated her life to serve her country. In a speech given on her 21 birthday in 1947 the then Princess Elizabeth pledged her life to server her country whether that life be short of long. Now in her 60th year on the throne we know she has been blessed with a long life of serve which has been a blessing for many.

At the age of 86 she still carries out over 300 appearances and royal engagements a year with no sign of slowing down. Although her position is symbolic it still carries a great deal of prestige and importance. Her constitutional duties include signing legislation, she can summon and dismiss Parliament (although usually at the request and advice of her Prime Minister), she still obtains the right to veto legislation (this has not been used since the reign of Queen Anne) and she holds weekly meeting with her prime Minister where he advises her on the issues of the day. She has the right to be consulted by her Prime Minister and encourage and to warn him. Once a year she formally opens Parliamentary cessions in a ceremony attended by the House of Lords and the House of Commons where she reads the governments speech outlining their agenda for the year.

I feel the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations is fortunate to have such a dedicated and hard working, committed Head of State such as Her Majesty. Through good times and bad she maintains her work ethic, dignity and attention to duty. In an era of rabid partisanship Her Majesty remains above the squabbles and the bickering that is inherent in the political arena. This is a testament to the wisdom and practicality of the monarchy where Her Majesty can be a unifying force and symbol of her nation.

I pray that Her Majesty continues to reign for many years in good health and vitality. Congratulations on 60 years of service. God save the Queen!