As Queen Elizabeth II of England addressed both houses of the British Parliament on Tuesday while celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, she also received a lecture about gay rights by a politician in a speech that critics claim was inappropriate.
While a number of Britain's political leaders paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's service, John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons, attracted particular attention when he took the podium and called the British monarch a "kaleidoscope Queen," which many observers have interpreted as a thinly-veiled reference to gay rights.
Bercow is a well-known supporter of gay issues and same-sex marriage, and he is the president of the Kaleidoscope Trust, a gay rights organization, members of which immediately praised him for his speech, the Daily Mail reported.
Speaking on behalf of Members of Parliament (MPs), Bercow directly addressed Queen Elizabeth, who was seated on an elevated platform alongside her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
"This is a land where men and women today are equal under the law and where Your people are respected, regardless of how they live, how they look or how they love. This is a nation of many races, faiths and customs, now beginning to be reflected in Parliament. All this progress has occurred during Your reign. You have become, to many of us, a kaleidoscope Queen of a kaleidoscope country in a kaleidoscope Commonwealth."
Video footage of the event shows a number of attendees, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, looking quite irritated at what has been described as an attempt to "hijack" Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee celebration and infuse it with political agendas. Although Cameron himself has backed plans to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.K., the timing of Bercow's speech is seen as highly inappropriate.
One unidentified member of the conservative Tory party said that it was "completely inappropriate for Bercow to be lecturing the Queen on gay rights at any time -- let alone when we are celebrating her Diamond Jubilee."
The House Speaker also faced accusations of making some presumptuous claims about Queen Elizabeth II. Bercow apparently cited Mahatma Gandhi's famous suggestion that "the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others" and suggested that the queen must have found herself many times over the past six decades.
"It is complete psychobabble. It is also extremely presumptuous to suggest the Queen has spent 60 years trying to find herself -- from what I have seen she knows her own mind pretty well," added another Tory member.
The Diamond Jubilee event, in celebration of her 60 years on the British throne, marks the third time Queen Elizabeth II has spoken at Westminster Hall, the previous occasions being for her Golden Jubilee (celebrating 50 years as queen) and her Silver Jubilee (celebrating 25 years).
Watch video of British House Speaker John Bercow addressing Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Hall during her Diamond Jubilee celebration: