The Irish Act of Union
The 100th anniversary of the birth of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother was widely celebrated in the summer of 2000. Commemorative coins and postage stamps were issued, a service of thanksgiving was held at St Paul’s Cathedral, and a pageant was organised though – because of bomb scares – very nearly scuppered. The disruption was caused, it was believed, by Irish republican opponents of the Belfast Agreement, and though their action was evidently designed to draw attention to that (in their eyes) treasonable document, it also serves to highlight another constitutional settlement and another anniversary. For, while the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday fell on August 4th, 2000, the 200th birthday of her domain, the United Kingdom, had (in one calculation) fallen only three days earlier.