Sir John Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer
Followers of this blog may be interested in reading this note that I sent around to COL staff today – the 60th anniversary of HM The Queen's accession to the throne.
Sixty years ago, on February 6, 1952, Princess Elizabeth acceded to the throne on the sudden death of her father, King George VI. With her husband, Prince Philip of Greece, the Duke of Edinburgh, the couple had begun a tour of the Commonwealth, beginning in Kenya. The 25-year old Queen returned to London and within a few days read an official proclamation declaring her reign as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second:
By the sudden death of my dear father I am called to assume the duties and responsibilities of sovereignty. My heart is too full for me to say more to you today than I shall always work, as my father did throughout his reign, to advance the happiness and prosperity of my peoples, spread as they are the world over.
Five years earlier, when she celebrated her 21st birthday during a tour of South Africa with her parents and sister, Princess Elizabeth had made a speech in which she dedicated her life to the service of the Commonwealth:
I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great (Commonwealth) family to which we all belong.
As Fr. Mark Greenaway-Robbins said in a sermon at St. James' Church here in Vancouver today: "Whatever your views about the constitutional monarchy, I would be amazed if anyone would claim that Queen Elizabeth II has not demonstrated throughout her life a remarkable spirit of service and dedication towards others. She is a model, an icon, who embodies a life of duty and obligation".
At COL we have the great privilege of working directly for that great Commonwealth family. Over the last few years one or other members of our small staff must have visited every one of the 54 member states of the Commonwealth in pursuit of our mission of learning for development, whose ultimate purpose, as The Queen expressed it, is also bring 'happiness and prosperity' to Commonwealth peoples spread all the world over.
On this 60th anniversary of her accession I invite you to reflect on The Queen's life of service and on the privilege that we enjoy, as members of the staff of the Commonwealth of Learning, of serving this unique association of nations and peoples.