Morning Chronicle - Elizabeth II says wants Camilla to be Queen Consort as Platinum Jubilee starts

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Elizabeth II says wants Camilla to be Queen Consort as Platinum Jubilee starts
Elizabeth II says wants Camilla to be Queen Consort as Platinum Jubilee starts

Elizabeth II says wants Camilla to be Queen Consort as Platinum Jubilee starts

Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday became the first British monarch to reign for seven decades, marking the landmark date with an announcement that she wants Camilla, the wife of her heir Prince Charles, to ultimately be known as Queen Consort.

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The 95-year-old monarch begins her Platinum Jubilee in subdued fashion at her Sandringham estate in eastern England, where she traditionally spends anniversaries of her accession.

Four days of festivities are planned for early June, coinciding with the anniversary of her 1953 coronation, including a military parade and music concert, street parties, a nationwide "Big Jubilee Lunch" and a "Platinum Pudding Competition".

Commemorative coins have been minted to mark Sunday's unprecedented milestone and eight new celebratory postage stamps have been issued by the Royal Mail.

On Monday there will be ceremonial gun salutes in London's Green Park, close to Buckingham Palace, and at Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Traditionally these are not held at weekends.

Addressing the nation in a written statement late Saturday, the Queen said she wanted Camilla, the wife of her heir Prince Charles, to ultimately be known as Queen Consort.

The statement shows that the Queen is planning for the future after her death and holds Camilla, who married Charles in a civil ceremony in 2005, in high esteem.

- 'Tireless service' -

Britain's longest-serving monarch acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952, following the death of her father King George VI.

Aged just 25, she learned of the news while watching wildlife in a remote part of Kenya with her now late husband, Prince Philip.

During her subsequent decades-spanning reign, she has remained the one constant through periods of huge social and political upheaval, a living link to Britain's post-war and imperial past.

In September 2015 she surpassed Queen Victoria's 63 years and seven months on the throne and, despite some health concerns over the past year, has appeared determined to continue her record-breaking reign.

Speaking in parliament this week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday was "a moment of national celebration" while noting it was "a day of mixed emotions for Her Majesty".

"I know the whole House (of Commons) will want to join me in thanking Her Majesty for her tireless service," he added.

"We look forward to celebrating her historic reign with a series of national events in June."

- 'Ma'am you're the tops' -

On Saturday, the Queen held a reception for local people at her Sandringham estate in eastern England, reportedly her largest in-person public engagement since she suffered health problems last autumn.

The monarch smiled as she cut a cake decorated with the jubilee emblem and received a posy featuring the same flowers as her Coronation bouquet.

The guests included Angela Wood, a woman who was involved in creating the recipe for coronation chicken in 1953. The bright yellow mildly curried dish was reportedly on the menu on Saturday.

After Philip's death in April last year, the queen returned to public and official engagements, including hosting world leaders at the G7 summit in Cornwall, southwest England.

But she was forced to slow down on advice from doctors, after an overnight hospital stay in October sparked public concern.

Since then she has largely stayed at Windsor Castle and made few public appearances.

The queen was filmed last month at Windsor viewing an array of memorabilia created for previous jubilees from the Royal Archives.

These included a homemade card created by a child for her Golden Jubilee in 2002 with bottle caps glued to its front, alongside the message: "Ma'am you're the tops."

"That's good: simple but ingenious," the Queen said at last month's viewing, when she was also accompanied by one of her dogs -- a corgi and dachshund cross-breed called Candy.

She was also shown Queen Victoria's famed "autograph fan", gifted to that monarch in 1887 for her Golden Jubilee by the Prince and Princess of Wales, who became King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

Numerous relations and friends subsequently signed their names on the fan, including Alix (of Hesse, later Tsarina of Russia) and Nick (later Tsar Nicholas II of Russia).

The Queen also took a first look at some early entries for the Platinum Pudding Competition, a nationwide baking competition to find a new pudding recipe dedicated to her.

The winning recipe will be made available to the public and enjoyed at the so-called "Big Jubilee Lunches" to be held during the June four-day weekend celebrations, which will see Britons enjoy two public holidays.

- Sandringham retreat -

The Queen will spend Sunday at Sandringham, the 20,000-acre (8,100-hectare) estate near the north Norfolk coast which is close to her heart.

Not only was it a retreat for Philip until he joined her in Covid isolation at Windsor Castle in 2020, but also for her father, who died there of lung cancer aged 56.

It was also a favoured residence for her grandfather, King George V, who also died there, and her great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra.