Washington: US President Barack Obama on Wednesday issued an unusually personal video tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on her diamond jubilee, saying he hoped she would continue to "reign supreme for many years to come."

In a video posted on the White House website, Obama said the 86-year-old British monarch was a "living witness" to the power and resilience of America's "special relationship" with Britain in times of plenty and of hardship.

"While many presidents and prime ministers have come and gone, Your Majesty's reign has endured," Obama said, speaking directly to camera.

Since ascending to the throne in 1952, the Queen's reign has spanned 12 US presidencies, and she has made repeated visits to the United States.

"It is gratifying to know that the bonds between our nations remain indispensable to our two countries and to the world," Obama said.

"In honor of your sixty extraordinary years on the throne, communities across the Commonwealth have lit thousands of jubilee beacons.

"May the light of your Majesty's crown continue to reign supreme for many years to come."

Obama's message was not without historical curiosity.

The US president, born in Hawaii to a white American mother, was the son of a man from Kenya, the country where then princess Elizabeth was on holiday in 1952 when she learned her father, King George VI, had died and she was Queen.

Obama and his wife Michelle appear to have forged a personal relationship with the Queen, which was displayed last year when she hosted a state visit for the US president and his wife and a sumptuous dinner at Buckingham Palace.

"You’re Majesty, on the historic occasion of your diamond jubilee, Michelle and I send you and all the British people and members of the Commonwealth, the heartfelt congratulations of the American people," Obama said.

The US leader sometimes uses video messages as a tool of diplomacy, for instance on issues such as Darfur, but it is highly unusual for him to mark a political or constitutional landmark in a foreign land by taking such a step.


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