SABC 3 Celebrates Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee

Press Release:
A three-part series looking at the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth II, with special interviews and remarkable archive footage by BBC documentary, presented by British journalist and political commentator Andrew Marr, is coming to SABC 3

So here's the deal. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom is celebrating 60 years since her ascension to the throne. The whole world is in some way joining the Brits to honour this interesting woman. 

Say what you will about her and the fact that her reigned formed part of the colonization of Africa but there is no denying that in terms of being a role model for women she reigns up there with the finest of the female gender. 

This is a woman who succeeded her father as a monarch to the thrones of seven countries upon the death of her father, King George VI, on 6 February 1952 when she was just 25 years old. 

She is today queen regnant of 16 sovereign states, 12 of which were British colonies or Dominions at the start of her reign.

Queen Victoria in 1897 is the only other monarch in the histories of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and a few other Commonwealth realms to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee.

Queen Elizabeth II is the second longest-serving monarch in British history having beaten George III, who died in 1820, after 59 years and 96 days on the throne. She “outflanked George III” in the middle of May last year.

She is now second to only one monarch in British history, as regards the length of reign and that is her great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, who stood at the helm throughout Britain’s “Golden Age” from 1837 to 1901, which is 63 years, 7 months and 3 days.

For the record, she is the second longest reigning current monarch to King Bhumibol Adulyadej (King Rama IX) of Thailand who has reigned since 9 th June 1946 making his reign 65 years, 330 days and still counting.

Queen Elizabeth sits on 60 years, 88 days!! That is quite a feet.

For interest's sake, the longest reigning African monarch is Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona of Ijebuland in Nigeria. He has been on the thrown for 52 years, 121 days.

So as irrelevant to Mzansi as this occasion may seem it still deserves some recognition for the milestones it represents for the advancement of women in our human history, in my opinion. 

The Diamond Queen is a landmark documentary series from the BBC to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years as head of state of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth. For the first time in modern history, a monarch has reached her Diamond Jubilee. 

To mark the occasion, The Diamond Queen presents a definitive analysis of the Queen’s reign, examining her history, constitutional role and responsibilities and her impact around the world. It features interviews with prime ministers, world leaders and special interviews with members of the Royal Family, and closely follows the Queen’s working engagements around the world for the period of more than a year and a half.

In the opening episode of the series, Marr looks at the Queen's relationship between her parents, grandparents and uncle as well as her relationship with government and with the current and previous Prime Minister. 

He follows the Queen as she tours the USA and the Middle East and visits the Queen's Wendy house, received as a present on her sixth birthday and recently restored. 

The episode featured interviews with the Duke of Cambridge, Prince Harry, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, Princess Eugenie, David Cameron, Tony Blair, John Major and William Hague. 

In this first episode, with remarkable archive footage, Marr tells the childhood story of the young girl who never expected to reign. He looks closely at the influence of her grandfather, father and mother and the impact of the abdication, and hears from the Queen's grandchildren about what it must have been like to become queen at the age of 25. 

Marr examines exactly what the Queen's role as head of state actually entails, and follows her to the Middle East and the USA to assess the global impact of the royal family on British trade and international relations.

In the second of three programmes, he assesses her moves to modernise the monarchy, from the abolition of the presentation of debutantes in 1958 to the very modern wedding of William and Catherine last year. 

Princes William and Harry are on hand to talk about their grandmother's influence on the wedding day, from the guest list to the choice of uniforms. Marr also looks back at the challenges faced by the monarchy in the 'annus horribilis' of 1992, follows the Queen on her groundbreaking visit to the Republic of Ireland last May, and looks back on the happy times she spent on the Royal Yacht Britannia and the sadness she so visibly exhibited when it was decommissioned in 1997. 

Peter and Zara Phillips talk about family holidays on the yacht and Tony Blair speaks of the difficult decision he took to scrap it when he came to power in 1997.

In the finale, Marr looks at the defining moments of the Queen's reign, beginning with her accession to the throne in 1952 and her coronation 16 months later. 

He examines how she has coped with decades of changing and sometimes tense relations with the media, looks backwards and forwards at royal Jubilees and charts her trip to Australia to look at what some see as her most enduring achievement, the Commonwealth. And, for the first time, all of the Queen's adult grandchildren have their say about 'The Diamond Queen'. 

The Diamond Queen premieres on SABC 3 on Sunday, 20 May at 20:30

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