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Britain celebrates 60th year of Queen's reign

Her staying power is impressive. Elizabeth is the oldest person to reign over Britain, and only Queen Victoria, who took the throne at an earlier age, had a longer reign.

It is of course true that some are indifferent or hostile to the monarchy, with its vast inherited wealth and status, but few question the dedication or sincerity of the queen.

“She's done a very good job,” said Jean Robson, a London retiree. “She works so very hard. The family's had problems like every family, and she's dealt with them very well.”

Robson said she and her family admire the royal family and its longtime role in the nation's life.

“We're very lucky to have them,” she said.

Others just feel good about the queen, even if they aren't exactly sure what she does or what she's really like.

“I personally like her, I think she's like the nation's grandma,” said Sarah Mills, a 27-year-old from York. “She seems like such a nice old lady. You can't really know her though, can you?”

The queen, and the royal family, have benefited in the last few years by the newfound maturity of Prince William, who married the former Kate Middleton in a spectacular ceremony last year, and Prince Harry, who has put his partying days largely in the past as he focuses on a military career.

The young princes have stepped up their official duties, at times representing the queen abroad. Their natural flair has given what had been an aging monarchy a badly needed touch of cool.

This effect has been accentuated by the former Middleton, who has brought poise and fashion flair to her new position as the Duchess of Cambridge.

She has won raves for her ability to bring new pizazz to the royals, and her presence at the Jubilee festivities is expected to produce pictures and TV images that will be seen throughout the world.

But the Duchess of Cambridge is expected to make sure she does nothing to upstage the queen at the weekend events. She is likely to focus on honoring the queen, not making her own fashion statements or drawing attention to herself in any way.

William and Harry have used rare television interviews given in the run-up to the Jubilee to emphasize that the queen is just “granny” to the younger generation. Harry described her as an active, involved parent and grandparent trying to keep track of her large brood.

He said the queen is “really very, very normal. Very relaxed. But you know, she obviously takes a huge interest in what we all do. You know, that's her children, as well as her grandchildren.”

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, are also coping with his heart disease, which surfaced over the Christmas holidays when he required emergency treatment to clear a blocked artery.

The 91-year-old has cut back slightly on his public appearances and some of his charity work, but is expected to be at the queen's side for the Jubilee events.

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Souvenirs including paper masks of (left to right) Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are displayed at a store in central London, Thursday, May 31, ahead of the long weekend of celebrations to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee. (AP)



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