OPINION: The qualities which have made the Queen an inspiration

Marking the Queen's platinum jubilee with people in Ipswich

MP Tom Hunt marking the Queen's platinum jubilee with people in Ipswich - Credit: Office of Tom Hunt

This week marks a momentous point in our nation’s history. With 70 years on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II is our longest-reigning monarch, and has continued to show steadfast leadership and a sense of duty throughout. 

In the last two years, with a pandemic, global cost of living crisis, and a war in Europe, this leadership is just as important as ever. This coming week’s celebrations are a chance for us to celebrate her incredible reign and to thank her for all that she continues to do for this country. 

In tough times, the Monarch has always produced steadfast resolve and inspiration to many. This is no less true of Queen Elizabeth II in her unprecedented speech during the Coronavirus pandemic where so many families were scared and unsure of what the future holds.

Her ability to rally the nation and provide words of wisdom during the pandemic provided much comfort to many. Like her predecessors, during world wars and times of national need we have invariably looked to the monarchy for leadership and example and they have continued to provide it in abundance.

This is leadership demonstrated in all aspects of her life, particularly in the most vulnerable of moments.

Unforgettably, the Queen sat alone at the funeral of her dear husband Prince Philip, who had sat at her side all these years. I don’t think many people were not incredibly touched by those powerful images we saw.

An example to us all, Queen Elizabeth gives us much to take pride in. For 70 years she has served the country and Commonwealth and remains steadfast in her dedication to her duty.

Most Read

What continues to amaze me is what she has presided over during her reign. Her Majesty has reigned over 14 Prime Ministers, 13 US Presidents, the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Falklands war, Covid and now the war in Ukraine.

As well as this she has witnessed the advent of broadcasting, live broadcasting her Coronation in 1953, the internet and even used modern tools like Zoom to conduct state business. Her Majesty represents a picture of modern Britain that also embraces tradition.

In celebrating the past seven decades of her reign, we remember years of our recent history and the change the UK has seen.

It’s a time to come together, not only to celebrate her illustrious 70 years but to celebrate the culture that binds us. This should be celebrated. I’m a patriot, and I don’t feel ashamed to say this. None of us should.

Seeing the Union Flag across London and draping the streets of Ipswich makes me incredibly proud. 
Therefore, I’m pleased to see just how enthused the Town has become. Knowing the people here, I expected nothing less from Ipswich. 

My Jubilee Card Competition, for primary school-aged pupils to produce a card for Her Majesty, received over 1,000 entries from 14 primary schools across Ipswich.

Freya-Nicole, a Year 6 pupil from Ranelagh School, won with her fantastic design showing the famous British tea and biscuits. I was impressed in general with the artistic talent displayed by children in the Town and their appreciation for our Queen. I was pleased to see the vibrant red, white and blue display of affection for our Queen from the younger generation. 

MP Tom Hunt with competition winner Freya-Nicole and her design

MP Tom Hunt with competition winner Freya-Nicole and her design - Credit: Office of Tom Hunt

Celebrating the Queen and our country brings Ipswich and the nation together. Be it street parties, community events, school fates or park picnics, the jubilee is an opportunity for us to appreciate the importance the monarchy still has today.

As the figurehead for the Commonwealth, the Queen is respected by different communities from around the world, many of which we have here in Ipswich. This includes the Bangladeshi, Indian and Caribbean communities who I know have a great affection towards the Queen and are looking forward to the celebrations this weekend.

In Ipswich, we have hundreds of Jubilee events planned. Across the country, 1,500 beacons will be ignited on 2nd June, blazing a trail through the UK and overseas territories. The Ipswich Beacon, at Christchurch Mansion, will be lit at 9:45pm, followed by a firework display. 

This Tuesday I kicked off my own celebrations with the great Papworth Trust’s Jubilee Party in Town. They showed me the special letter they had received from The Duchess of Gloucester to mark the day and there was even a cut out of Her Majesty. 

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt meets local organisations who are celebrating the Queen's platinum jubilee

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt meets local organisations who are celebrating the Queen's platinum jubilee - Credit: Office of Tom Hunt

I know many streets have organised street parties, a great chance to bring our communities together to celebrate.

I think we should be encouraging these displays of celebration and endorsing them wherever they spring up in Ipswich. I know there are community centres across the town getting into the jubilee spirit too – and I plan to visit as many of these as possible across town over the course of the weekend with around 20 in my plans. 

So, I hope all readers will make the most of the long Jubilee weekend, celebrating 70 years of Her Majesty’s service and like me, continue to be grateful for the service she provides our Country. 

- Tom Hunt is the Ipswich MP for Ipswich.