Pomp and circumstance: Queen addresses both Houses of Parliament for first time in a decade as peers, MPs and dignitaries honour her Diamond Jubilee

-Queen pays tribute to husband Philip's 'constant strength and guide' over the decades
-She pledges to 'rededicate' herself to 'service of our great country'
-Audience giggles as she cracks jokes about Philip and prime ministers
-Speaker of the House John Bercow's introductory speech lasts longer than Queen's

By MATT BLAKE

Strong:The Queen addressed both Houses of Parliament for the first time in a decade as MPs peers and dignitaries honoured her 60 years on the throne

The Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee today by paying tribute to the British virtues of 'resilience, ingenuity and tolerance', and to the Duke of Edinburgh, her 'constant strength and guide' over the decades.
In a landmark address to both Houses of Parliament the monarch repeated her vow made on Accession Day in February to 'rededicate myself to the service of our great country'.

Respect: In a remarkable display of pomp and pageantry, Her Majesty entered Westminster Hall to a rousing fanfare before her address

In the ancient Westminster Hall the monarch stood to give her address, telling MPs and peers that since she came to the throne she has been a regular visitor to the Palace of Westminster.
She added: 'During these years as your Queen, the support of my family has, across the generations, been beyond measure.
'Prince Philip is, I believe, well-known for declining compliments of any kind. But throughout he has been a constant strength and guide.'

Loyal: The Queen's husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, listened intently as she spoke

This was the monarch's sixth address to both Houses of Parliament. She gave similar speeches in celebration of her Golden Jubilee in 2002 and Silver Jubilee 25 years earlier in 1977.
The Queen has begun her national tour to mark her 60-year reign and said she hoped the Diamond Jubilee celebrations would 'be an opportunity for people to come together in a spirit of neighbourliness and celebration of their own communities'.
The work of millions in the professional and voluntary services, whose efforts were for the pubic good, would also be recognised this year as would the 'remarkable sacrifice and courage of our armed forces'.

Landmark: Westminster Hall was packed with hundreds of MPs, peers and dignitaries

She said: 'Much may have indeed have changed these past 60 years but the valour of those who risk their lives for the defence and freedom of us all remains undimmed.'
Members of the Royal Family have begun touring the Queen's realms to mark her Diamond Jubilee, with Prince Harry recently returning from a trip to Belize, the Bahamas and Jamaica.
The Queen added: 'These overseas tours are a reminder of our close affinity with the Commonwealth, encompassing about one-third of the world's population.


Giggles: She made her audience laugh with a few jokes in her speech, including a quip about how 'at the last count' she had presided over 12 prime ministers

'My own association with the Commonwealth has taught me that the most important contact between nations is usually contact between its peoples.
'An organisation dedicated to certain values, the Commonwealth has flourished and grown by successfully promoting and protecting that contact.'
Among the guests was Prime Minister David Cameron, some members of his Cabinet, former premiers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
The monarch reflected on the ancient setting for her address: 'We are reminded here of our past, of the continuity of our national story and the virtues of resilience, ingenuity and tolerance which created it.

Parliament past and present: On the front row sat (left to right) former PM Gordon Brown, Speaker's wife Sally Bercow, Tony Blair, Harriet Harman, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband's wife Justine Thornton, Ed Miliband and Prime Minister David Cameron

Pomp and pageantry: The parliamentary maces were carried in procession into Westminster Hall, followed by the Yeomen of the Guard in ceremonial uniform

All stand: The audience stood as she entered the hall with Philip

Tory MP Patrick Mercer was not in Westminster Hall for the addresses - the former Army officer cycled from the precincts on a yellow mountain bike four minutes before the royal party's arrival.
The Queen's visit to Westminster Hall began with Lord Speaker, Baroness D'Souza, presenting the address from the House of Lords and House of Commons Speaker, John Bercow, making a similar speech from the Commons.

Present: During the event a Diamond Jubilee window - a gift from the members of both Houses - was unveiled to mark the monarch's 60-year reign

After the speeches were read, the Diamond Jubilee Window - a gift from the members of both Houses - will be unveiled to mark the monarch's 60-year reign and the Queen will reply to the addresses.
The window will be in a display case and will be installed above the North Door of Westminster Hall later this year.
In her 2002 address, the Queen spoke about '50 unforgettable years' on the throne, telling MPs and peers: 'I would like above all to declare my resolve to continue, with the support of my family, to serve the people of this great nation of ours to the best of my ability through the changing times ahead.'

Personal: The window will be installed above the North Door of Westminster Hall later this year

source :dailymail

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