LONDON — In a ceremony rich in royal fanfare, Queen Elizabeth II addressed both houses of Parliament on Tuesday to mark her 60 years on the throne.
While the proceedings were largely devoid of controversy, Commons Speaker John Bercow caused a bit of a kerfuffle when he introduced Her Majesty as “a kaleidoscope queen of a kaleidoscope country.”
Bercow is president of the Kaleidoscope Trust, a gay rights group. Damian Thompson, a blogger and columnist for the Telegraph news site, suggested that his statement was “a thinly disguised plug for gay marriage.”
When Bercow made his comment, British Prime Minister David Cameron was caught on television glaring at him. (See 40 seconds in.)
In the queen’s upbeat speech that followed, the monarch vowed to “rededicate myself to the service of our great country and its people, now, and in the years to come.”
The queen also singled out her husband, Prince Philip, who she said was her “constant strength and guide.”
True to form, Philip didn’t break a smile when the queen said that her 90-year-old husband was “well-known for declining compliments of any kind.”
The diamond jubilee event – one of many this year marking the monarch’s 60-year-reign – was in effect Parliament’s chance to pay tribute to the queen.
This is a very different kind of jubilee year than the one a decade ago, which had a more somber tone following the recent death of the queen’s mother.
Today, the queen, 85, is as popular as she has ever been, and her jubilee engagements, especially those with her grandson Prince William’s wife, the former Kate Middleton, have drawn large, flag-waving crowds.
The queen, who also addressed both houses of Parliament during her silver and golden jubilees, elicited chuckles when she said she had “the pleasurable duty of treating with 12 prime ministers” and that her “happy relationship with Parliament has extended well beyond the more than 3,500 bills I have signed into law.”
Lawmakers presented the monarch with a stained-glass window that they personally paid for and that will remain on display in Westminster Hall.
The only other British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee was Queen Victoria, in 1897.
Exhibiting the kind of understatement at which the British excel, the queen said: “I am reassured that I am merely the second sovereign to celebrate a diamond jubilee.”
Watch the queen’s speech below: