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British Billy celebrates The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Billy the Cat (aka British Billy) lives in Elveden, a local village about ten miles from RAF Lakenheath. Billy has been around a bit. He came from a rescue centre and prefers not to dwell on the past. He is proud of his country and its heritage and counts his friends and family as hailing from all corners of the British Isles. He is proud to be a “moggy”. Many of his American friends and admirers ask Billy about the things puzzling them about life and culture in the U.K., and if he doesn’t know the answer, he has ways and means of finding out. Feel free to send him any questions, and when he isn’t sleeping or hunting, he’ll try and put a few thoughts together to help you out.

Billy the Cat (aka British Billy) lives in Elveden, a local village about ten miles from RAF Lakenheath. Billy has been around a bit. He came from a rescue centre and prefers not to dwell on the past. He is proud of his country and its heritage and counts his friends and family as hailing from all corners of the British Isles. He is proud to be a “moggy”. Many of his American friends and admirers ask Billy about the things puzzling them about life and culture in the U.K., and if he doesn’t know the answer, he has ways and means of finding out. Feel free to send him any questions, and when he isn’t sleeping or hunting, he’ll try and put a few thoughts together to help you out.

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Have you noticed there seem to be a lot more Union Jacks, patriotic bunting and royal fervour around at the moment? The United Kingdom is all a-flutter as the nation celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As a patriotic feline, I make sure I am comfortably seated in a prime position at home to view the plethora of documentaries and news coverage currently being aired on British television.

Marking 60 years of The Queen's reign, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will centre around an extended weekend, June 2, 3, 4 and 5, 2012.

The Diamond Jubilee website features the latest news, photographs, announcements and historical information about The Queen's 60-year reign. It also includes an interactive timeline, quizzes, puzzles and the official images of The Queen released for the Diamond Jubilee. Visitors can send a congratulatory message to The Queen. For more information, you can turn to http://www.thediamondjubilee.org/.

The Queen was born at 2:40 a.m. on April 21, 1926, at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. The elder daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary became Queen at the age of 25, on Feb. 6, 1952. Her coronation took place on June 2, 1953. She is married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and has four children and eight grandchildren.

The first British monarch to mark 50 years on the throne in a significant way was King George III in 1809, and the only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897.

As a constitutional monarch, Her Majesty does not 'rule' the country, but fulfils important ceremonial and formal roles with respect to the government. She is also Fount of Justice, Head of the Armed Forces and has important relationships with the established Churches of England and Scotland. It is all rather complicated and bound up in constitutional law. The Queen's official website, www.royal.gov.uk/HMTheQueen/HMTheQueen.aspx, has all sorts of handy information that should help you out if you're interested.

In the long and convoluted history of the U.K., our monarchs have been a colourful band of individuals, with histories and lineages to match, and often times our nation has had a turbulent and violent relationship with some of them.

However, the present Queen is regarded with great affection by the vast majority of the British public. We may be impatient for our governments to change, but many of us find stability, strength, a sense of continuity and great pride in our monarch.

So, I raise a loyal paw to Her Majesty and wish her many more happy and healthy years to come.

For more information on local Diamond Jubilee events go to http://www.lakenheath.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123304013.