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02 June 2012

Happy and Glorious

 

I am so very sad not to be in London this weekend to take part in the festivities for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee, as she celebrates 60 years on the throne.

 

queen-elizabeth-coronation-dress-hartnell1

Until recently I’d never seen a colour picture of the Queen’s absolutely exquisite coronation gown, embellished all over with symbols of the four British home nations. Designer Sir Norman Hartnell’s sketch is below. Fan Bing Bing eat your heart out!

 

Few of us Brits can even remember a time when she wasn’t our Head of State - she’s been a fixture in all our lives since we were babies -  and I’m sure no British person can even begin to envisage the country without her.

It’s going to be a huge four-day party in the UK, starting tomorrow; partly because we don’t have an annual equivalent of the Fourth of July or Bastille Day and therefore have to grab any opportunity we can to show our national pride and patriotism, and partly I think because most British people are, deep down, very fond of the old girl.

I find it amusing that someone chosen entirely through an accident of birth, (in many ways hereditary monarchy is one of the fairest and most truly random ways of choosing a head of state) so perfectly embodies many of the qualities that British people like to imagine they possess. 

Neither flamboyant, showy nor remotely glamorous, like us she can seem reserved, diffident and bit shy on first acquaintance, but underneath seems genuinely warm, honest and friendly and is apparently very witty.  We make her do some of the most boring things imaginable but appreciate that she does them stoically, without fuss or grumbling and without seeming to enjoy her enormous wealth and privilege too much.  We like that she prefers to spend her vacations under the rains of Scotland rather than cavorting on the nudist beaches of the Mediterranean (I just boggled my own mind there) and feel that it is entirely right, natural and proper that she clearly prefers dogs and horses to people.

 

queen-elizabeth-coronation-dress-hartnell

 

Funnily enough, in many ways since moving to America I have come to appreciate the monarchy even more than when I lived back in the UK. 

Seems to me that an elected presidency can sometimes be a tricky conundrum for Americans, who have to reconcile their personal feelings for the man (always a man) currently in office with their respect for the office he holds and their belief in the country he represents.

In the UK we have carte blanche to loathe, criticise and disrespect all our politicians equally and without reservation (surely healthy in a democracy) while saving all our patriotism, respect and pride for the little old lady, who with immense good grace and not a whiff of personal scandal, has done everything we’ve asked of her over the last sixty years.  I personally wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Thank you ma’am and have a fun weekend.

It’s going to be all Jubilee here on the blog over the next four days, in between baking for Jubilee parties and getting up at 5.30 am to watch the festivities.

Brits lucky enough to be on the scene please comment and tell us how things are going and what you’re doing; expat Brits and Commonwealth kids, tell us if and how you’re celebrating; I’m fascinated to hear from everyone what the Queen and this weekend means to you (if anything).  Americans, will you be getting up to watch?

   

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Comments

Love this post! Just recently went to London for the first time to meet half of my family! (My grandma and Dad are English) I saw the Queen being escorted by the police, and could see her clearly through the huge windows in the Bentley! Very cool to see
highdollarhippie.blogspot.com

I have my nostalgia and love for the monarchy from being from one of the colonies (Canada that is). Am I a monarchist? Yup. Although I agree with the recent changes WRT to taxation and funding of less royals.

There is something about it, that tie to thousands of years of history, that Americans or other non-Commonwealth citizens will, I believe, never truly understand. She's on our money and we have ties to the rest of the Commonwealth countries.

I find that when Katie Couric or someone else tries to interview the Royals that they treat them like celebrities - the Windsors aren't the Kardashians. Yes they have had their missteps and drama but there is that thread all the way back, again, thousands of years.

I am a lover of history and as such believe that there really isn't anything new under the sun. Each successive generation thinks that they are the smartest and the wisest - but it all comes around again and again.

So yes, I will be up early to watch and give a toast to my Queen. And look forward to when we have King Charles and then King William II. G-d save the Queen.

Wonderful post, Paola! I completely agree that it is nice that you can rail on the politicians and God Save the Queen can bring a tear to your eye.

I lived in London for a short while and I remember going to the Cenotaph hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen Mum and the rest of the Royals during one of those holidays that isn't the Fourth or Bastille Day. There is an allure to the Windsors that transcends heads of state and celebrity. There is no threat of impeachment for being a crook or for dalliances. There is no question of birth. There is no question of whether she's had any work done or any oversharing on social media.

It's a proud moment in British history to have her reach her 60th year, and to have done so with the maturity and grace that Queen Elizabeth has shown.

@Drey I used to work near Buckingham Palace and saw the Queen coming in and out a few times as I cycled past the Palace...

@Sandra, how I agree. I'm crazy into British history and love how we have this tangible link with the past. So much more than mere celebrity. Wish I was at least in Canada this weekend...

@Liza, thanks for such a gracious comment. You do know that the Queen massively overshares on Twitter don't you? @queen_UK

Oh my goodness that dress is beautiful! The ones on her attendants, too. Love.

The Queen is amazingly dedicated and hardworking. I hope she has a very nice celebration. (I got to see her too when I lived in London. Balcony wave and everything! Very exciting.)

Very sad to be in Boston rather than enjoying the party... this is a rather lovely bit of background to celebrations on the Thames... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18107913
Dxx

Well, at least the pictures and her dress are pretty, lol. Seriously, her and her attendants get some of the most gorgeous dresses I've ever seen!

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