THIS weekend marks an unprecedented moment in British history: the commemoration of a monarch’s 70 years on the throne.

It marks 70 years of stability during a period of unremitting change – at the Queen’s coronation in 1953, the grainy, soundless images on a bulky black-and-white television were considered a wonder of the age, and yet today nearly everyone streams high definition colour movies on a slim device they keep in their back pockets.

Indeed, as we look back on the 70 years of the Elizabethan era, we should note that there have been hard periods, but it has been largely peaceful and prosperous. Perhaps we stand on the cusp of a new age – war in Europe, vast economic uncertainty – and people in the future may well look back on these 70 years as a golden time.

This weekend also marks 70 years of the Queen’s service. The monarchy is a peculiarly British institution. It is not perfect, but the alternative would be to have a personage like Boris Johnson as our head of state. Imagine how tarnished the country would feel by his scrapes and scandals, whereas the Queen, universally respected and admired, serenely rises above it all and keeps the nation clean.

Indeed, the Queen is so intertwined with our national identity that this weekend is a chance to celebrate our nationhood – not in a jingoistic way but just to say how proud we are to belong to a red, white and blue country which has Her Majesty as its head of state.

But above all, it is a chance to give thanks for her remarkable dedication to duty. Most British people have never known another monarch. She has been an ever-present in our lives, and even now, at 96, she still astounds with her commitment to the country.

Thank you, Ma’am, and God save the Queen!