This week saw the celebration the 90th birthday of Her Majesty the Queen.
In her nine decades, Queen Elizabeth has witnessed great turmoil and great change. The world of 2016 is in many ways unrecognisably different from that of 1926. Yet the Queen’s leadership has not only helped us through the tough years; it has helped us also to make sense of the arc of history which binds those years together.
Nowhere is that more true than here in Kenya.
The Queen’s connection with this blessed and beautiful country is deep. Kenya holds a very special place in her heart. It was of course here, in February of 1952, that she heard the sad news of her father the King’s death. With that news, a Princess became a Queen.
Much has changed in the 64 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign. The bonds of Empire have given way to the partnership of the Commonwealth. Kenya has become not just a proud and independent nation, but one of this continent’s biggest success stories and a global hub for innovation.
Yet the UK and Kenya remain part of and shaped by each other’s stories and experiences as nations. Our history has woven between us a fabric of deep connection – exemplified and encompassed in Her Majesty’s own life, but part of the lives of all of us today.
This may flow from our past, but that is not the most important point. What matters even more is that our deep connections shape our present and our future.
The United Kingdom is safer and more prosperous when Kenya is so. Our fight against extremism and insecurity is a shared one; so too our work to create jobs and opportunity for our people.
We stand today as two vibrant, modern countries, crucial to the success of our respective regions. We are each home to some of the most innovative businesses, some of the best research and education institutions, some of the hardest-working and most entrepreneurial people in our continents and indeed the world.
Our success as nations is already intertwined. But we can do so much more together – in business and trade, investment and development, on the security of this region and in the fight against terrorism and extremism, in education and tourism – in every area which matters to the concerns and the aspirations of our people.
I am resolved to use my time as High Commissioner here to draw on and strengthen the connections between us, not just in the interests of the Government I serve but for the benefit of wananchi in both our countries. There is so much more we can do together, and I pledge to foster and support that in every way I can.
May God Bless Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on her 90th Birthday. May He bless our two countries as we celebrate together and as we resolve together to tackle the many challenges ahead of us.