Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi thanked the British people for two and a half decades of support during the start of her visit to Britain Tuesday, on her 67th birthday.
She left the country and her husband and sons there 24 years ago when she returned to Burma to take care of her sick mother. She spent most of the next 20 years in some form of detention under the military dictatorship in her country.
The Nobel Peace laureate was greeted with a standing ovation on arrival to the London School of Economics where she addressed a packed auditorium.
She said people like the audience combined with her stubbornness gave her strength to continue. She also talked of the difficulty of being separated from her husband Michael Aris and their sons Kim and Alexander for 24 years.
Aung San Suu Kyi was separated from her family for many years after her return to Burma in 1988 because she refused to leave the country for fear that she would not be allowed to return. Her sons were teenagers at the time and her husband died of cancer in 1999 without her at his side.
She told reporters Tuesday that she is responsible for the choices she made for the sake of Burma.
"I don't justify it. I don't justify it. I think that everybody must accept their responsibility for what they do," said Aung San Suu Kyi. "I accept responsibility for what I did and what I am and so must my sons. They must also accept responsibility for what they are not just put it on the fact that their mother was not there or their father died early, this we could always have all kinds of reasons for being what we are. In the end I think we, each of us, have to accept responsibility for what we are."
Aung San Suu Kyi and British Prime Minister David Cameron walk in the Rose Garden at the Prime Minister's country residence Chequers, near Ellesborough, Buckinghamshire, England, June 22, 2012.
Burma's opposition leader makes an address to a joint session of both Houses of Parliament, in Westminster Hall, in London, June 21, 2012.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Britain's Prince Charles and Camilla Duchess of Cornwall in the gardens of Clarence House, in London, 21 June 2012
Aung San Suu Kyi greets British Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street in London, June 21, 2012.
Burmese opposition leader leaves through The Great Gate after receiving her honorary degree at Oxford University, in Oxford southern England, June 20, 2012.
Aung San Suu Kyi, center, meets with people at a reception in Oxford, England, June 19, 2012.
Burma's political leader is given a picture of her father for her birthday at The London School of Economics and Political Science in London, June, 19, 2012.
Aung San Suu Kyi accepts the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award from Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty (L) and singer Bono (R), Dublin, Ireland, June 18, 2012.
From left, Aung San Suu Kyi, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and Irish singer and activist Bono address the media after attending a conference of the Oslo Forum, Norway, June 18, 2012.
Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (L) meets Naw Star Ri during a meeting with the Burmese community in Bergen, Norway, June 17, 2012.
Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, left, welcomes Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the Foreign Ministry for a meeting in Oslo, June 17, 2012.
Aung San Suu Kyi signs a book at the Nobel Institute after a meeting with the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo, June 16, 2012.
Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to a large audience outside Oslo's City Hall, Norway, June 16, 2012.
Aung San Suu Kyi, holds her speech during the Peace Nobel Prize lecture at the city hall in Oslo, June 16, 2012. She formally accepts the prize that thrust her into the global limelight two decades ago.
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is greeted by Norwegian King Harald and Norway's Queen Sonja (L-R) at the Royal Castle in Oslo, June 16, 2012.
Aung San Suu Kyi attends a news conference with Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in central Oslo, June 15, 2012.
Burma's pro-democracy leader signs autographs outside the Swiss Parliament in Bern, Switzerland, June 14, 2012.
Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during the last day of the 101st session of the International Labor Conference of the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, June 14, 2012.
Aung San Suu Kyi attended the Oxford University in the 1960s and lived with her family there until her return to Burma. She visited the university town later Tuesday and planned to celebrate her birthday with her family there.
The university will present her with an honorary degree awarded to her in her absence in 1993.
Later in the week, Aung San Suu Kyi will address both houses of parliament in London - a rare honor.
England is the last leg of Aung San Suu Kyi's emotional visit to Europe, which also included stops in Switzerland, Ireland and Norway.
Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy won a landslide election in 1990, but Burmese military leaders refused to relinquish power.
She was released from her latest house arrest in November 2010 following an election which led to political changes in Burma after half a century of military rule. A new, nominally civilian government took office in March of last year.
After her release, Aung San Suu Kyi resumed active leadership of the National League for Democracy, which she co-founded, and won election to an open seat in parliament in April.