By Oliver Hotham
Politicians have praised the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years since her coronation.
David Cameron said the anniversary was an opportunity to thank the monarch for her “magnificent” service to the country.
He also praised her constitutional role, saying: "People talk as if the monarchy was simply a glittering ornament... That misunderstands our constitution and it underestimates our Queen.
"Always dedicated, always resolute and always respected, she is a source of wisdom and continuity."
Nick Clegg described the Queen as a "centre of calm and stability" in a country which has changed dramatically since her coronation in 1952. He described her as a "fierce defender of Britain's values" who is "revered and respected around the world".
"I would also like to pay tribute to her immense kindness and warmth," the deputy prime minister added.
Leader of the opposition Ed Miliband described the Queen as a "source of stability and security in a changing world during her 60 years on the throne providing guidance and comfort to all she meets".
Former prime minister Sir John Major, responding to suggestions that the succession might skip a generation, was clear yesterday that Prince Charles would be Britain's next monarch.
"It simply isn't going to happen," he said in an interview on BBC1's Andrew Marr Show yesterday.
"After the Queen will come Prince Charles, after Prince Charles will come Prince William. That is a matter which is settled and is beyond doubt."
He described the suggestion as "a piece of newspaper sophistry".
Since her coronation in 1952, the Queen has seen 12 prime ministers and 12 US presidents.