A portrait of the Queen by British photographer David Bailey has been reissued for her Sapphire Jubilee, marking 65 years on the throne. In the photo, the Queen wears sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947. The Queen has become the first British monarch to reach a sapphire jubilee.
The Queen was described as a ‘beacon of womankind’ by celebrity photographer Mary McCartney who captured the image of her sitting at a desk in Buckingham Palace working on matters of state.
Queen Elizabeth II becomes Britain’s longest-reigning monarch later when she passes the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. The Queen will have reigned for 63 years and seven months – calculated at 23,226 days, 16 hours and approximately 30 minutes at about 17:30 BST. (via BBC)
Long may she reign!
I think from the contributions made by Queen Elizabeth it’s quite clear indeed – her visit to Dublin, meeting me in Belfast two years ago, the visit to Windsor Castle and again today – that she is someone who absolutely and passionately supports the peace process.
Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness says the Queen’s visit to the notorious Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast will be greeted by many ‘with astonishment’
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The portrait by David Bailey, released by Buckingham Palace for the monarch’s 88th birthday, shows her looking relaxed and happy, in a refreshing departure from her formal responsibilities. David Bailey said: “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen. She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I’ve always liked strong women and she is a very strong woman.”
The Queen is wearing pearls and a dress by Angela Kelly, who has served as her personal assistant and senior dresser since 2002. Her brooch, a large pearl button surrounded by diamonds with a pearl pendant, was passed down to her from her great-great-grandmother.
Queen Elizabeth II meets Pope Francis for the first time on 3 April 2014 on a visit that coincides with the anniversary of the start of the Falklands War between Britain and Argentina. Previously, Elizabeth II had met with four Pontiffs, starting with Pius XII in 1951, a year before her accession to the throne. The queen has visited the Vatican twice during her reign, once to meet John XXIII in 1961 and again in 2000 to see John Paul II, and met Benedict XVI in Britain, during his Apostolic Visit in September 2010.
Pope Francis presented the Queen with a priceless gift for Prince George at the Vatican. The orb made from lapis lazuli semi-precious stone featuring a silver cross of St Edward the Confessor was given to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh to pass on to her heir. This was accompanied by a manuscript dating back to 1679 proclaiming the saint day of Edward the Confessor. The Pope explained “it’s for the little boy” as he handed the gifts over. The ornament – made especially for the occasion – featured an inscription saying: “From Pope Francis to Prince George of Cambridge.” Prince Philip was delighted with his gift from the Pope – three gold medals bearing the Pontiff’s face. He joked: “That’s very kind of you, that’s the only gold medal I have ever won.” In a friendly exchange they presented two signed pictures of themselves in silver frames and a hamper of goodies from the Royal Estates.