By Ononye VC
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth says she was inspired by the goodwill of the nation as celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee began. The country held four days of celebrations in tribute to the 96-year-old British monarch who is the first-ever to have reigned for 70 years. Elizabeth became Queen following the death of her father, King George VI in 1952.Two public holidays were set aside to create a four-day weekend for nationwide events commemorating Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne. The celebrations kicked off on Thursday morning with the traditional “Trooping the Colour” military parade in central London. This was followed by a flypast of modern and historic aircraft watched by members of the Royal Family from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.Thursday evening saw the lighting of over 3,000 beacons across Britain and countries of the Commonwealth. Other events include a service of thanksgiving at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and a concert held outside Buckingham Palace featuring many performers including Andrea Bocelli, Diana Ross and bands such as Queen and Duran Duran. The celebrations concluded on Sunday with tens of thousands of street parties, picnics and barbeques being held across the country and a Platinum Jubilee pageant parading through the streets of central London with a cast of 6,000 performers.Pope Francis sent greetings on Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum JubileeDuring her seven decades on the throne, Queen Elizabeth has been a symbol of stability for the country during huge social, economic and political change. Now aged 96, the Queen has chalked up many records during her reign. She is the oldest and longest-serving incumbent head of state and Britain’s longest-ever reigning monarch.She has met hundreds of world leaders including five different Popes: Pius XII, John XXIII, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. Her reign also saw the establishment in 1982 of full diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Britain.The Catholic Church in England and Wales marked the Platinum Jubilee by calling on all parishes at Sunday Masses to pray for the Monarch by including an intention in the Prayer of the Faithful and by reciting the Prayer for the Queen.