This article appears in the May 2002 edition of the Catholic Medical Quarterly

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We Thank You, Ma'am

In celebrating the Queen's 50 years upon the throne, our respect goes out to her for the durable qualities she has manifested in a period of immense cultural change: a sense of duty, fidelity, service and self-control. Called to the throne at an early age she has witnessed the decline of Empire and the often haphazard establishment of the Commonwealth with an equanimity that has never been equalled by any of our other leaders. Her awesome sense of duty ensures that the sweet balm of retirement is not for her as it is for the rest of us. Her willing acceptance of the heredity principle of succession, to which she was born, dominates her life. Yet, as this principle is at present being widely questioned in public life, many tend to regard her as a more isolated figure. She has been accused of remoteness. But the manifestations of popular support throughout the country during the Jubilee celebrations give the lie to those who favour a republic. Adversarial politics may well be a necessary political process in a democracy, but a monarch capable of remaining above politics is vital to the functioning of this system.

We applaud her courage in being able to combine tradition with innovation. Not for her an undignified clinging to the past. Many are the changes she has already instituted: opening up the palace, flying the royal flag at half mast, paying tax, attending pop concerts, even kissing Prince Charles in public. Doubtless there will be many more.

What is the ultimate source of her great courage? Without any doubt she has been sustained by her abiding faith in God.

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