Queen Elizabeth II, 84, of Britain, addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations on July 6, 2010 in New York. The speech marks her second appearance ever at the UN, the first taking place in 1957, as she makes a brief visit to the city. UPI Photo/Monika Graff. | License Photo
UNITED NATIONS, July 6 (UPI) -- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II addressed the United Nations Tuesday, calling it "a real force for common good."
The monarch, who last appeared before the international body more than a half-century ago, said the United Nations has accomplished much and urged it forward.
"In my lifetime, the United Nations has moved from being a high-minded aspiration to being a real force for common good. That of itself has been a signal achievement," Elizabeth said.
"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."
The last time the 84-year-old queen addressed the United Nations was 1957, four years after she assumed the throne.
During her 58-year reign, she said, the world has undergone not only major scientific and technological advances but changes in social attitudes.
"Remarkably, many of these sweeping advances have come about not because of governments, committee resolutions or central directives -- although all these have played a part -- but instead because millions of people around the world have wanted them," she said. "For the United Nations, these subtle yet significant changes in people's approach to leadership and power might have foreshadowed failure and demise. Instead, the United Nations has grown and prospered by responding and adapting to these shifts."
Among the challenges ahead, she said, are dealing with poverty, terrorism and climate change.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the queen "a living symbol of grace, constancy and dignity."
"With you at the helm, the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth have contributed immensely to the United Nations," Ban said.