Britain's Queen Elizabeth told member states of the United Nations on Tuesday that for more than 60 years, the world body has helped shape the international response to global dangers and must continue to show clear leadership. The 84-year-old monarch last addressed the United Nations 53 years ago. She made a whirlwind visit to New York, where she also honored the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Queen Elizabeth told a full General Assembly hall that she has witnessed great change - much of it good - during her more than 50 year-long reign. She said advances in science and technology, and shifts in social attitudes have come about more because of people than governments. She noted that many important things have not changed, including the aims and values that inspired the United Nations Charter.
"To promote international peace, security and justice; to relieve and remove the blight of hunger, poverty and disease; and to protect the rights and liberties of every citizen," said Queen Elizabeth.
The queen praised the United Nations for its role in reducing conflict, offering humanitarian assistance and tackling the effects of poverty in many parts of the world. But she acknowledged that much more remains to be done.
"For over six decades, the United Nations has helped to shape the international response to global dangers," said the Queen. "The challenge now is to continue to show this clear and convening leadership, while not losing sight of your ongoing work to secure the security, prosperity and dignity of our fellow human beings."
Wearing a summery aqua, white and beige floral print jacket and skirt ensemble, with a coordinating hat and her signature pearls and diamond brooch, the queen spoke for a little less than ten minutes.
While at U.N. headquarters, she placed a wreath for staff killed in the line of duty. She also met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who, in his welcoming remarks in the General Assembly told the queen she is "an anchor for our age" and a "living symbol of grace, constancy and dignity."
After a brief reception that included ambassadors from the 54 countries that make up the British Commonwealth of former colonies, the Queen and her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, departed for the site of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
There, the royal couple paid tribute to the victims and met some of their families. The queen also inaugurated an English Garden of Remembrance dedicated to the 67 Britons killed in the terrorist attacks before departing for London Tuesday evening.