Hello everyone, I am Ramin Navai, British Ambassador to Paraguay. Welcome to the first virtual celebration of the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in Asunción.
For now, the pandemic has drastically changed the way we come together, and the way we celebrate the traditions of our nations around the world. But neither the pandemic, nor any other crisis, will ever change what we celebrate and why. Today we have the opportunity to recognise not only the longest reign in British history, but also the special relationship that exists between the United Kingdom and Paraguay, and its bright future.
In honor of the occasion, I would like to explain a little more, and I will start with the most striking thing people wonder: why does the Queen have two birthdays? When I was little, I was jealous of Her Majesty for this reason, believing that she got two sets of presents. But that is not the case. The answer to the question is very British: it is all due to the famous London weather.
The tradition dates back to 1748 during the reign of King George II. His birthday was in late autumn, a very rainy season in the UK to celebrate on the streets as he wanted it, who would not? So they combined it with the already existing “Trooping the Color” military parade in the summer, when with any luck, the weather would be nicer.
So, while the Queen’s birthday is on 21 April, the official day is the second Saturday of June. This event takes place every year on the streets of London, so that everyone can enjoy a colorful and important British celebration. We celebrate this occasion all over the world, in our Embassies and High Commissions.
This year is also extra special as it is the last Queen’s Brithday Party before the Jubilee of Platinum. In 2022 she will celebrate her 70th anniversary as regent of the United Kingdom, the first British monarch to reach this milestone. Our Embassy will also be part of it. For more details, I invite you to keep an eye on our social networks in the coming weeks.
Now, a piece of advice I got before I became an Ambassador was not to make such long speeches. Unfortunately (sorry Robert), I am not going to achieve that today, as I have to summarize what would normally be spread out at a reception of several hours, during an evening of culture, of fraternity between our countries. But I will try to finish soon, and I invite you to have a glass ready for the toast at the end of my speech.
Whilst we cannot enjoy this occasion together and in person, one significant advantage of doing it virtually is that many more people across Paraguay can