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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Queen Celebrates Golden Anniversary

LONDON -- Queen Elizabeth marked her golden wedding anniversary Thursday with a heartfelt pledge to respond more closely to what her people are telling her.


After a thanksgiving service rich in pomp and circumstance at Westminster Abbey, where she and Prince Philip were married in 1947, the queen looked back over her marriage and spelled out her vision of the future.


Speaking at a banquet hosted by Prime Minister Tony Blair, the queen said it was often hard to interpret what her people were saying.


"For us, a royal family, the message is often harder to read, obscured as it can be by deference, rhetoric or the conflicting currents of public opinion. But read it we must."


She added: "I have done my best, with Prince Philip's constant love and help, to interpret it correctly through the years of our marriage and of my reign as your queen. And we shall, as a family, together try to do so in the future."


In her speech, the queen looked back at what she called a "remarkable" 50 years for Britain, the Commonwealth and the world.


"Think what we would have missed if we had never heard the Beatles, or seen Margot Fonteyn dance; never have watched television, used a mobile phone or surfed the Net -- or, to be honest, listened to other people talking about surfing the Net," she said, drawing laughter from her guests.


Turning to the future, the queen said: "I believe that there is an air of confidence in this country of ours just now.


"I pray that we, people, government and royal family, for we are one, can prove it to be justified and that Britain will enter the next millennium, glad, confident and a truly United Kingdom."


She also offered thanks "to all those in Britain and around the world who have welcomed us and sustained us and our family, in the good times and the bad, so unstintingly over many years.


"This has given us strength, most recently during the sad days after the tragedy of Diana's death. It is you, if I may now speak to all of you directly, who have seen us through, and helped us to make our duty fun."


Blair, Britain's 10th prime minister since the queen took the throne, praised her for being "unstuffy, unfussy and unfazed by anything" and for "steering through the terrible test" of Diana's death.


The royal anniversary celebrations brought monarchs from around Europe to Westminster Abbey -- seven kings, 10 queens, a grand duke, 26 princes and 27 princesses.


The guest list included members of the royal houses of Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, Jordan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Spain and Yugoslavia.


The queen was greeted at the entrance to the abbey by a fanfare of trumpets and then the congregation joined in "Praise My Soul The King of Heaven," one of her favorite hymns that was played at their wedding.