this past year has been one of great celebration for many. the enthusiasm which greeted the diamond jubilee was, of course, especially memorable for me and my family.
it was humbling that so many chose to mark the anniversary of a duty which passed to me 60 years ago. people of all ages took the trouble to take part in various ways and in many nations. but perhaps most striking of all was to witness the strength of fellowship and friendship among those who had gathered together on these occasions.
prince philip and i were joined by our family on the river thames as we paid tribute to those who have shaped the united kingdom’s past and future as a maritime nation, and weled a wonderful array of craft, large and small, from across the monwealth.
on the barges and the bridges and the banks of the river there were people who had taken their places to cheer through the mist, undaunted by the rain. that day there was a tremendous sense of mon determination to celebrate, triumphing over the elements.
that same spirit was also in evidence from the moment the olympic flame arrived on these shores. the flame itself drew hundreds and thousands of people on its journey around the british isles, and was carried by every kind of deserving individual, many nominated for their own extraordinary service.
as london hosted a splendid summer of sport, all those who saw the achievement and courage at the olympic and paralympic games were further inspired by the skill, dedication, training and teamwork of our athletes. in pursuing their own sporting goals, they gave the rest of us the opportunity to share something of the excitement and drama.