IT is thought that over 90% of the country have never known any other monarch than Queen Elizabeth II.
I have spoken to constituents who lived under the reign of HRH George VI – The Queen’s father.  While born in the 1940s and only young children when the Queen ascended to the throne in 1952, they still have fond memories of the young princess becoming the monarch.  
That puts 70 years of public service into perspective.  The 1950s was a vastly different era. The end of Empire and a time of post-war austerity. The Queen has seen it all.
For me it seems absurd to even consider any other head of state than The Queen. A steadfast ever present leader in our lives. A reassuring presence in times of need and rising above whatever squabbling is happening on the news.  Just think of her moving pandemic address to the nation – and, of course, her smiling pride in the country at times of celebration too.
But the Queen’s reign is not about the years.  It is about her dedication to her country and the Commonwealth.  It is the display of a tremendous work ethic, fortitude and the judgement she has shown throughout those years. She has made official visits to more than 120 countries and has undertaken thousands of engagements. She has represented her country impeccably at every one of them.
Not too many people work until they are 96 years old and counting. Yet for The Queen, the job means to serve so she keeps on keeping on.  It was part of the oath she took in Westminster Abbey when she was crowned and she deserves much credit for honouring it so clearly for all to see.  
I think many also underestimate what a global role model she is, especially for women. When I was growing up the top jobs in our country belonged to women. Prime Minister and Head of State. It made me think that anything was possible for women.  Now I know that some might scoff that The Queen inherited the job, but she has excelled in what she was destined to do and she is a role model in my view.
The near universal global respect she commands is not something that was given to her either. She is also a highly intelligent woman who has moved with the times while cleverly never seeming to. In 1952 respect for her position was largely automatic but as the years passed and the world changed, she fully understood that respect needed to be earned and the Royal family had to adapt.   
During her long reign she has seen 14 Prime Ministers come and go. The first was our great wartime leader Winston Churchill in his second term in office. All Prime Ministers attest to how helpful their weekly meetings with The Queen can be. They are not being polite. She has experience and wisdom that must be priceless to hear, particularly in troubled times.  
This jubilee weekend will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.  A platinum Jubilee may never happen again in our country and The Queen deserves all the celebrations and accolades she will receive. I have enjoyed being at local primary schools, churches and village halls recently seeing how everybody is preparing for this week.  The bunting and flags are only a tiny bit of the effort that is being thrown in by so many people.  
I know I speak for everyone in Stroud, the Valleys and Vale when I say: ‘Congratulations Your Majesty.  
‘Thank you and long may you continue to reign’.