I wouldn’t say I’m particularly patriotic, although born in the UK I’ve never felt that it was home and have always had the travel bug. It isn’t that the grass is greener elsewhere necessarily, it’s probably far harder to live abroad than in the UK, despite people thinking it’s just one long holiday but I never tire of discovering new places, languages, traditions etc.
Throughout this weekends jubilee celebrations I’ve wished I was in London twice, for about the first ten minutes of the floatilla on Sunday before the coverage (and the rain) got really boring and when the amazing fireworks closed the concert last night. I do have the obligatory bunting hanging from my balcony and my fireplace and we went to a street party on Saturday, which was lovely but to be honest I’m finding the whole celebrating the UK thing a bit rich coming from most people. The majority of the people I’ve seen out celebrating are the same people who slag the Royal family off at the drop of a hat, not to mention “the state of the UK today” and yet you give them an extra 2 days off work and they will quite happily raise a glass and use it as an excuse to have a few drinks with friends, but who can blame them I suppose.
What I’ve found interesting about the jubilee is the information about The Queen and the Royal family. A self confessed history geek, I am already a lover of Kings & Queens of the past and enjoy reading about what the UK was like in their reign, but hadn’t ever paid much attention to our present Queen. I’m no Royalist by any stretch of the imagination, but she is quite a woman when you think about it. She should never have been Queen in the first place, she was third in line to the throne after all but that line of succession would have grown longer had her uncle King Edward VIII not abdicated the throne and gone on to have children of his own to succeed him as expected. However on 6th of February 1952 she heard of her fathers death while away in Kenya and of her own accession to the throne, she was just 25 years old with two young children. I can’t even begin to imagine how she must have felt, her father just died, she was 1000s of miles away from home and had just been told she was The Queen of England. She must have felt like the weight of the world was on her shoulders.
Over the years she has made many a historic visit, one of the most recent to Ireland where she astounded everyone by speaking in Gaelic. She has celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977, Her Gold Jubilee in 2002 and of course this year is her Diamond Jubilee. She is the second longest reigning Monarch, only her great great grandmother Queen Victoria reined for longer (63 years) and one of the most successful. Of all the rulers of the UK the three most succesful have been women, our present Queen, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth I – I’m not one to talk about “girl power” but if ever there was a reason for us girls to boast we are better/more successful than men, these three formidable women just go to prove that point. The Queen has been married to her Prince Charming, Prince Phillip for 64 years and despite his notorious gaffs they are still clearly very much in love, they have 4 children, 8 grandchildren and one great grand daughter. Prince Phillip may have given up his career in the armed forces for her, but he is still very much in the driving seat at home, having famously told her to get out of the car if she didn’t like it when he was driving too fast for her liking through Windsor Great Park one day.
I’ve heard people saying these past few days that she doesn’t actually do anything as she has someone to do everything for her. To them I would say you try standing on that boat in the peeing down rain for 3 or 4 hours at the age of 86 and see how well you fare. She might be The Queen but she isn’t immune to the tiredness and aches and pains that being old bring – she’s a little younger than my nan and she certainly can’t stand for longer than five minutes at a time! Add to that everything else she does, which although is not physical work I’ll bet the constant signing things off etc can get to you and leave you feeling mentally drained sometimes.
I guess you could say that this jubilee has given me a new found respect and admiration for a woman I think deserves just that – respect, no matter what your opinion is on the Royal family.
This post was written thanks to the Britmums recent blog prompt. For more related posts to this and the other blog prompt this week click here