[Dateline: New York | Author: Raman Nijjar]
On Tuesday 6 July, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II made her second appearance at UN Headquarters in New York, addressing the 64th session of the General Assembly in the presence of Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon. The Queen last came to UN Headquarters in 1957; she was then 31 years old, and it had only been 12 years since the creation of the UN.
"When I was first here there were just three United Nations operations overseas. Now over 120,000 men and women are deployed in 26 missions across the world. You have helped reduce conflict; you have offered humanitarian assistance to millions of people, affected by natural disasters and other emergencies, and you have been deeply committed to tackling the effects of poverty in many parts of the world," said the Queen about the work the United Nations has done and continues to do.
A few days before she was to come to the UN, all staff, including interns, kept their fingers crossed for that special red ticket. It was not until Her Majesty entered the General Assembly that you could feel this was truly a special visit.
Those in attendance included UN staff members, representatives of Member States, representatives of non-governmental organizations, retirees, affiliates and interns.
For many of those in attendance this was their first time seeing Queen Elizabeth II, "It’s a once in a lifetime thing" said a gentleman in the press area, to our iSeek reporter.
The crowd was silent when Queen Elizabeth walked in from the middle doors of the General Assembly Hall. "It was elegant, she was very impressive and right to the point," observed Zvi Muskal, 2010 Focal Point for the Reham Al-Farrah Memorial Journalist Fellowship.
Aileen Rose Cornelio - an intern at the UN Archives - said that her “favourite part of her speech was her simple reminder to all of us of the core values behind the UN."
"Queen Elizabeth has held my interest over the years. She is supremely aware of her position and the responsibilities that come with it", said Paul Weissleder, from the Treaty Section, who gave iSeek his pictures of the event.
Queen Elizabeth’s speech was not very long: she was in the General Assembly for no more than half an hour. But, that was enough time for some delegates, staff and interns. For them, just being in the presence of Her Majesty was an event in itself.