UK Celebrates 60 Years of Queen Elizabeth on the Throne

The United Kingdom celebrated the 60th anniversary of its second longest reigning monarch in history, Queen Elizabeth II, who took the throne when she was 25 years old.

A 41-gun salute in London's Hyde Park and a 21-gun salute in Edinburgh, Scotland were made on Monday to mark the official day in 1952 that Elizabeth took the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, who died at age 56 following a lung operation.

An extended weekend of celebration, coordinated by Buckingham palace, will be observed on June 2-5 to mark the queen's coronation, which took place in 1953.

In an open letter, the queen thanked the British people for their support for her and her husband and said that she planned to dedicate herself "anew to your service."

Along with the rest of the country, the Church of England also honored the queen on Monday, albeit during their General Synod meeting.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams gave an address during the meeting, saying that Elizabeth's life is "one in which the privilege accorded by birth has been richly earned by generous service."

Williams further noted the queen's devotion to her faith and her public proclamations Christ's importance for the world.

"As the text underlines, being head of this state is not a secular office but a Christian one, for which the Sovereign is anointed with oil and consecrated," he said.

"It is a Christian vocation, which Her Majesty freely accepted and exercised as such," he added.

The Diamond Jubilee is a milestone that only one other British monarch has celebrated, Elizabeth's great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who is also the longest reigning monarch in the country's history.

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