On Sunday, February 6, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her platinum jubilee as the longest-serving British monarch in history and already the second longest of all time, surpassed only by Louis XIV of France, who ruled for 72 years.
This is an occasion when individuals and organisations present a Loyal Address to the Queen. Livery Companies, such as ours, send such an Address to Buckingham Palace, as our Master has done (copy attached). In this, congratulations are expressed and the fealty of the Company and its members is reaffirmed.
We need to go back almost 1,000 years to understand the history of the City and its relationship to the monarch of the United Kingdom. William 1, the Norman conqueror of the Anglo Saxons, issued a Charter which confirmed the legal status of the families and businesses within the City, including their inheritance rights and security. The Charter was William’s reward for the loyalty and subjugation of the City, issued after his coronation on Christmas Day 1066. The value of the Charter and the autonomy that it guarantees has been defended by the City ever since. An interesting element of the Charter was the way in which both English (Anglo Saxon) and French (Norman) residents were treated the same, laying the foundations for our modern, multi-cultural City today.
Under King John in 1215, the City was granted further powers with another Royal Charter which allowed it to choose its own Lord Mayor, instead of a Sheriff appointed by the monarch.
These Charters are just some of a multitude bestowed on City institutions, including the Charter held by the Worshipful Company of World Traders.
The Lord Mayor is elected for a period of a year and the appointment is marked by a pageant-filled ceremony each year (The Lord Mayor’s Show). The Show culminates at the Royal Courts of Justice where the new Lord Mayor swears allegiance to the monarch.
Over her impressive and dedicated reign, Her Majesty the Queen has supported world trade with continual engagement and hospitality towards world leaders, Royal visits supporting British trade, support for the creation of the Commonwealth and by conveying, by example, the best of British values.
We salute and thank Her Majesty the Queen for her long standing service to this country.