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Brunei
Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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Tuesday, August 9, 2022
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    Garden party marks Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday

    James Kon

    The British High Commission in Brunei Darussalam celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s 96th birthday and her platinum jubilee yesterday with a garden party at the High Commissioner’s residence.

    Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom (UK) and the Commonwealth.

    Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof attended as the guest of honour.

    British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe and spouse Tuti Suwidjiningsih welcomed the minister as well as guests including members of the Diplomatic Corps and local business community.

    Lining the walkway to a marquee and garden was a gallery of iconic photos of the queen through the decades as well as photos of her with His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

    Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof and British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe cut a cake. PHOTOS: JAMES KON
    Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof and British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe look at photos at the event

    The queen has met His Majesty on a number of occasions including during her visits to Brunei in March 1972 and September 1998.

    His Majesty is a frequent visitor to the UK and was on a four-day state visit in 1992.

    Virgoe in his welcoming remarks touched on the queen’s 70 years on the throne and 70 years of service to the people of the UK and the Commonwealth.

    He added, “Between them, His Majesty and Her Majesty the Queen have reigned for 124 years. I hope you will all take a look at our photo exhibition, which documents her 70 years on the throne, including her two visits to Brunei Darussalam – in 1972 and again in 1998.”

    In the UK, he said, “Her Majesty has been served by 14 prime ministers and carried out over 21,000 engagements. Just last month, at the age of 96, she opened London’s newest subway line, the Elizabeth Line. One of the stations on the Elizabeth Line is Paddington, a familiar location to many Bruneians as it is just two minutes’ walk from Brunei Hall.”

    He added, “Of course, she is not only queen of UK, but also head of state of 16 independent countries. So I am pleased to acknowledge the presence of Canadian High Commissioner Jeanette Stovel and Charge d’Affaires at Australian High Commision Chintana Vongpaseuth.”

    This weekend, he revealed, “The UK is celebrating the queen’s remarkable reign with four days of festivities including street parties, a parade and a Service of Thanksgiving. In July, she will preside at the opening of the Commonwealth Games in the city of Birmingham. We look forward to seeing Bruneian athletes compete.”

    Meanwhile in Brunei, he said, “Beacons were lit on Thursday, as part of a chain across the Commonwealth, and we listened to a new commonwealth song sung by the choir from Yippy Tunes who will sing it again for us later. With His Majesty’s consent, the Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Bridge was lit up in red, white and blue.”

    The high commissioner thanked Land Rover Sdn Bhd, Laksamana Colleague of Business, Mini Cooper, Supa Save, NAAFI and Kensington for their sponsorship of the event.

    He also thanked Green Brunei and Standard Chartered Bank for their support in making the event carbon-neutral.

    The Brunei and UK national anthems were performed by an instrumental trio followed by a cake cutting ceremony by the high commissioner and minister.

    A coffee-table book of historical British Embassy buildings around the world was presented to the minister as a token of appreciation.

    The menu recreated a Buckingham Palace garden party with traditional sandwiches, cakes, and scones served with jam and clotted cream.

    Guests also enjoyed a rousing performed by the Pipers of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Gurkha Rifles (British Forces Brunei) as well as live music from the instrumental trio.

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