By Max Foster, Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Niamh Kennedy, CNN
Britain’s Prince Charles has paid tribute to his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as she marks her 70th anniversary on the throne on Sunday, saying her devotion continues to inspire with each passing year.
The Prince of Wales, 73, congratulated the Queen on her “remarkable achievement” of “serving this nation, the Realms and Commonwealth” for the past seven decades in a statement released by Clarence House.
“The Queen’s devotion to the welfare of all her people inspires still greater admiration with each passing year,” the statement added.
The 95-year-old monarch ascended to the throne on February 6, 1952, following the death of her father, King George VI, at the age of 56.
Elizabeth II is the first British monarch to reach the historic milestone of a Platinum Jubilee and is marking the day privately at her Sandringham estate in eastern England. Nationwide celebrations are set to take place over a long weekend in the summer.
She was already the longest-reigning monarch in British history, having in 2015 surpassed the record set by her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria.
Charles also expressed his gratitude for the Queen’s words on Saturday when, as part of a message to mark her landmark milestone, she shared her hope that the heir to the throne’s wife, Camilla, would become Queen Consort when he becomes King.
“We are deeply conscious of the honour represented by my mother’s wish. As we have sought together to serve and support Her Majesty and the people of our communities, my darling wife has been my own steadfast support throughout,” the royal added.
The extraordinary message was a hugely significant intervention from the monarch, who is the only person who can define royal titles.
When Charles married Camilla in 2005, the couple announced she intended to be known as “Princess Consort” despite having a right to the title of Queen. It was seen as a recognition of the sensitivities around a title that was destined for Charles’ first wife, Diana.
It’s the same reason Camilla doesn’t use the title of Princess of Wales.
The Queen would be expected to consult her direct heirs Charles and William before making such a significant announcement about the institution’s transition, which suggests they both agreed and felt the British public is ready to accept Camilla as Queen.
Charles also heralded “the year of this unprecedented Platinum Jubilee” as an opportunity to unite “in celebrating the service of The Queen, by whose example we will continue to be led in the years to come.”
His message was one of many from well-wishers around the nation in honor of the Queen’s 70-year reign.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called it a “truly historic moment” in a post on Twitter, and said he was looking “forward to coming together as a country to celebrate her historic reign in the summer.”
His predecessor, Theresa May said in her own post that the Queen’s reign has been “defined by duty and commitment” and shared her gratitude “to an extraordinary woman, who has dedicated her life to the service of her people & our family of nations.”
Meanwhile, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby praised the Queen “for her dedication to us all, and her faithful witness to Jesus Christ.”
While the family matriarch will not be seen in public Sunday, a new photograph was released by Buckingham Palace to mark Accession Day and the start of her Platinum Jubilee year.
In the photograph, which was taken earlier this week, the Queen smiles broadly in the saloon at Sandringham House. One of her famous red despatch boxes lies open on the table nearby.
As head of state, the Queen has received thousands of the leather boxes embossed with her monogram. Sent daily, each contain documents updating the monarch on matters of parliament, the Commonwealth and events around the globe, in addition to state papers requiring her signature and royal assent.
The sovereign is dressed in a signature lime green summer wool tweed shift dress by Angela Kelly. She is also wearing two diamond ivy leaf clips — a gift from her mother on her 21st birthday.
In the background, a photograph of her father at Buckingham Palace in 1948 can be seen on the table.
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