Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; Head of the Commonwealth (a group of nations that were formerly under the British colony) and Queen of twelve independent nations, was born on the 21st of April, 1926, and will be 90 today. She is the first child of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and assumed the throne in the year, 1952. She is also the world’s oldest reigning monarch, the longest reigning British Monarch and the longest reigning queen regnant in world history.
She is one of the strong pillars behind the decolonization of many African countries and many other initiatives; which include the devolution of the United Kingdom and the expansion of the Commonwealth of Nations, Nigeria being a part of it. She has been to various parts of the world including war torn areas and areas with looming conflict and has been praised for her courage and calmness in the face of violence. The Queen loves to travel, this might be because of her monarchical engagements, but no, her love for travel came when she was very little.
Queen Elizabeth II’s first visit to Nigeria came in the year 1956, from the 28th of January to the 16th of February, as at that time Nigeria was in the process of gaining independence. Her visit was marked with great jubilation and excitement among Nigerians. They loved the fact that she supported their aspirations of gaining independence. She visited so many monarchs in the country, commissioned the Liberty Stadium, Queen Elizabeth II Road and Queen Elizabeth II Hall, University of Ibadan, all in Ibadan, inaugurated Federal courts, visited the former House of Parliament in Lagos, State House at Marina, Race course, Queens College, the Durbar Festival in Kaduna, the Tin mines in Jos, Coal city (Enugu), and so many other towns and cities in Nigeria.
Her second and last visit to Nigeria was from the 3rd to 6th of December, 2003, for the 18th CHOGM (Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting). She visited the State House in Abuja, a mock-up market in Karu village near Abuja, a tree planting ceremony at the Millennium Park, Abuja, and also the British High Commission in Abuja. Here is a copy of the speech made by the Queen at the reception of the CHOGM, which was given by former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
On the occasion of the Republic of Nigeria celebrating 100 years since the amalgamation of Northern and Southern Nigeria, I send the people of Nigeria my warmest congratulations. I have fond memories of my first visit to Nigeria in 1956 and again in 2003 as Head of the Commonwealth. The links between our two countries have deepened over the past 100 years and I hope they will continue to do so. I would like to convey my best wishes for the happiness and prosperity of the people of Nigeria.
Queen Elizabeth II’s message congratulating Nigeria on her Centenary celebrations
Asides travelling, Queen Elizabeth has got a lovely sense of humor and a large heart for humanitarian causes. Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II, long live the Queen. Here are 90 pictures of the Queen used by the BBC to mark her 90th birthday celebration.