HM The Queen
Portrait in Oriel Hall by Jeff Stultiens 2003
Image: Royal Society of Portrait Painters
Today is the 59th anniversary of the accession of Her Majesty the Queen.
In recent years she has overtaken nearly all of her long-reigning predecessors - Queen Elizabeth I (44.5 years), King Edward III (50.5 years), King Henry III (56 years), King James VI (58 years, and this summer will overtake King George III (59.25). So we are now in 60 Elizabeth II, and next year she will join Queen Victoria (63.5 years) in celebrating a Diamond Jubilee. Of course if you are a Jacobite you may well not recognise her, and cite the longevity of King James III and VIII (65 years).
In addition she has been since December 2007 our longest lived monarch.
I have used this portrait as it celebrates Her Majesty's connection with Oriel. As Sovereign she is Visitor of the College, founded by King Edward II in 1326. It was from Oriel that, as Princess Elizabeth, she went to the Sheldonian Theatre to receive the degree of D.C.L. , and I am given to understand she has been known to refer to Oriel as "my college." The portrait was commissioned by the Provost and Fellows to mark her Golden Jubilee. The choice of asking her to sit wearing the Garter robes was a conscious one by Oriel to stress the fourteenth century origins of both the college and the Order.
The Queen has been a remarkable figure of stability and continuity over almost six decades of change and uncertainty, and exercised her role as Sovereign with skill and sureness of touch.
Long May She Reign!