LAST weekend saw the start of the Queen’s 70th anniversary year. It would have been a bittersweet moment for her as she looked back at all the years and all the changes she has seen.

But she would also reflect, we are sure, on the fact that her ascension to the throne was as the result of the premature death of her beloved father, King George VI and the death of the Duke of Edinburgh who has, throughout her reign, been by her side.

Unfortunately this time of amazing celebration comes at the end of a year of turmoil – the death of Prince Phillip, the abdication of Prine Harry and Meghan, the scandal surrounding the Duke of York and, of course, a worldwide pandemic.

It is hard to know what this summer will bring.

Will we see the street parties, corporate events and the sheer joy that has surrounded previous milestones, such as the Silver Jubilee in 1977 and the Gold Jubilee in 2002?

What is probably a certainty, however, is that there will be an outpouring of affection for this woman who has not put a step wrong in all her 70 years of reign.

She has led the country and the Commonwealth putting duty before all else and leading by example, even at her own husband’s funeral where she sat alone as so many have had to because of the pandemic.

One quick personal memory: I was brought up in Northern Rhodesia and when talk of becoming a republic happened, I was about 11. I was so worried that the Queen would be “offended” by the fact that I wrote to her telling her I would remain a loyal subject.

I’m sure she slept better in her bed that night and I am glad that Zambia remained in the Commonwealth.