How wonderful for us as a nation to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of HM of the Queen.

I well recall the Silver Jubilee of Her Majesty in 1977. I was living as a student at the time in Manchester and many of our buses were re-painted silver in colour and very smart they were too!

To think that 45 years have passed since the Silver Jubilee and we now come to the Platinum Jubilee – that span of 45 years being a working lifetime!

The Platinum Jubilee is a milestone that our nation has never seen before and is unlikely to do so again. The many tributes to Her Majesty have been heartfelt and moving. The tribute from President Obama was gracious and sincere. From his position as a former US President, he was able to express thanks to Her Majesty on behalf of the entire free world. Few human beings as Her Majesty can have been held in such high respect. The President’s tribute brought a lump to one’s throat. But in an unintended slip, President Obama did make a fundamental error when he said we are celebrating “seven decades since Her Majesty came to power.”

The Queen reigns but she does not rule. She may have ascended the throne in 1952 but she did not come to power. Her powers are very limited, which is why her leadership and work has been all the more remarkable. She has not had the power of her forebear, Henry VIII, who was able to use imprisonment in the Tower of London or decapitation, or worse, to keep down his opponents! Her Majesty has been, and is, an amazing monarch because she knows she serves a monarch higher than herself. Therein lies her humility and her call to service.

The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, delivered the sermon in St Paul’s Cathedral during a service to mark and celebrate Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on 3 June 2022. In it he spoke movingly when he said:

“Now we all know that Her Majesty likes horse racing and I imagine Your Majesty will be watching this on the television. I don’t have any great tips for the Derby tomorrow, but since the scriptures describe life as a race set before us, let me observe that your long reign reflects the distance of Aintree more than the sprints of Epsom. Certainly, less dressage than most people imagine. But with endurance, through times of change and challenge, joy and sorrow, you continue to offer yourself in the service of our country and the commonwealth.

Your Majesty, we’re sorry you’re not with us this morning in person, but we are so glad you are still in the saddle. And we are all glad that there is still more to come. So, thank you for staying the course. Thank you, for continuing to be faithful to the pledges you made 70 years ago. Thank you for showing us how service and faithfulness matter. People of all faiths and no faiths and people of goodwill can learn from this.”

Now the reader of this article might be wondering about the relevance of this tribute to Her Majesty in a business blog!

The monarchy supports business in a number of practical ways such as through The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise or through Royal Warrants or The Prince’s Trust. Business is represented in the Honours’ system.

But I want to suggest that the Queen offers us far more in the gift of her character to us which can help businesses today.

The Queen has said, quoting Winston Churchill “The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” The Queen is able to take her long perspective as she advises her Prime Ministers who all too often have to make knee jerk responses to newspaper headlines. As business leaders, we must avoid short-term decisions and instead see the long view which is why strategic planning is so vital.

It is the personal example of Her Majesty herself which is perhaps the greatest contribution the monarchy makes to business. The hallmarks of the Queen’s approach to her reign are service, humility, respect, collaboration, innovation, attention to detail, an inquiring mind and gratitude.

Our free market is about selling goods and services to others at a profit within the constraints of the law. But pure profit should not be the only goal in a civilised society. The manner in which businesses conduct themselves matters very much; and here it is the senior leadership of companies that will set the tone for the organisation. If, as business leaders, we can make the hallmarks of the Queen’s example our own, then our businesses will prosper all the more and all our stakeholders will find greater satisfaction, and even meaning, in being associated with us.

We know it is unlikely that Her Majesty will celebrate another Jubilee but it is her express wish that this Jubilee should set the tone for the coming years of our national life in the UK and in the Commonwealth. In the fulness of time the Prince of Wales and then the Duke of Cambridge and then after him, Prince George, will DV succeed to the throne. When they do, may we all have cause to be thankful for the Queen who, being at the heart of the Second Elizabethan age, has set us up so well to see selfless service as the hallmark of our endeavours as we go into the future which beckons. If we can make that hallmark our own, then our businesses should enjoy prosperity which can be shared with all.

David Eaton     07841 215182

david.eaton@smestrategies.co.uk

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