Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Queen and I.

As there seems to have been so much attention in the last week celebrating her 90th birthday, I thought it an opportunity to share the thoughts of one of her subjects. This may or may not be how most of the country feels. It seems we are quite divided between being loyal subjects and ardent republicans. A republican in this instance being someone who wants Great Britain to be a republic, and nothing to do with the American political party. I am ambivilent about it whilst we have the Queen, and will probably veer to the republican view if Charles becomes King.

I was born on the 23rd of May 1953. Our National Health Service meant I was born in hospital and my mother, like all mothers back than, spent 10 days in hospital recovering from the birth. Times have changed, women are lucky these days to get even 48 hours in bed recovering even after a surgical intervention. My mother came home on Coronation Day with her new baby. She was 40 so still must have been a little shell shocked by giving birth again. She came home to a room full of people watching a tiny screen in the sitting room. My father had bought our first television. Everyone ignored her and her baby whilst they watched Elizabeth crowned and my mother made them never ending cups of tea. Of course I have no memory of this at all.

The next time my life crossed the Royals was in London's West End, known for it's many theatres. I was little, just about three years old. I slipped under the ropes onto the red carpet as the Queen and Prince Phillip entered a theatre. Prince Phillip lifted me back over the ropes. I am not sure if I remember this or if I just remember being told about it.

We went to Australia to live in 1962. I was shocked to find we had to sing God Save the Queen every morning at school, and we had to place our hands on our hearts and pledge to Queen and Country. It was also normal to sing the National Anthemn at the cinema. On the upside, we got the Queen's Official Birthday off school.

In 1977, it was the Queen's Silver Jubilee. I lived in Wimbledon and the Queen came to watch the Women's Final when we were in with a chance of getting our first victory for years. It was one of the hot summers in the late 70s and I took a friend's little boy to see her go up Wimbledon Hill. I didn't see her as I had him on my shoulders.  He saw a lady in a hat but no crown, so he didn't realise it was her. Virginia Wade won.

Sometime in the 90s I took our daughter to see Windsor Castle, the Queen's residence a few miles out of London.  There is a huge doll's house there I thought she would like to see. Prince Phillip drove out in a Land Rover.

My next near encounter was the Royal Gala for the film, Ladies in Lavender. We were invited but sat downstairs whilst the Queen was in the Royal Circle. My memories of this were the soldiers with sub machine guns walking up and down the aisles throughout the screening. Not a comfortable feeling in a country where we are not used to guns in public view and definitely not inside anwhere. It was after 9/11 but before the London bombings, I think.

I saw very few British people on Facebook mentioning her birthday. I think just two of my British Facebook friends. Then the expat Brits. The people who mentioned it most were Americans. And that's why I think we should probably stay as a Kingdom. It is good for tourism.


  1. Rightly or wrongly I am a royalist. I feel we benefit more from having the royal family than not - tourism being the biggy. Britain is famous the world over for the pomp and circumstance, it is want makes Britain, Britain. The thought of going through the rigmarole the US goes through every 5 years turns me cold, our elections are bad enough!
    It gives us continuity in an every changing world. It is not to say, though, that they need to modernise a bit more!

  2. I mentioned the queen on my FB page, just because I am a royalist. But I am a national of two countries, Holland and the UK. Schizofrenic? I grew up with Royalty in Holland, and when I chose to become British after I married an Englishman, had to swear allegiance to the Queen. In a way I suppose I am quite rich, being a royalist twice over....:)

  3. What an interesting read, Sally! I've never been to Great Britain, but think it would be wonderful to visit someday. The Royals certainly know how to put on a show :) BTW, you and I were born the same year.

  4. I feel in a similar way about the royalist/republican thing to yourself I think. Good for tourism. Also the thought of an elected president is not good (think about any of the current ruling party being president... Boris probably fancies the job!)