Two weeks on from the Royal Jubilee celebrations, and I can’t quite bring myself to turn off the red, white and blue fairy lights outside my house, nor to take down the bunting. I don’t want to lose that carefree sense of fun that took over the nation’s lives, for all but the most hardened Republicans.
Cards on the table: I’m not especially a Royalist, but I do have a profound admiration for those Royals who work hard and tirelessly to do their duty for the country. I certainly wouldn’t want to swap places with the Queen. During the Jubilee period, it’s been a treat to see our national flag restored to its proper use of celebrating our national unity, rather than indicating right-wing tendencies or National Front affiliations. I hung the biggest flag I could find from my bedroom window. (“Are you doing that just to irritate Daddy?” asked my nine-year-old daughter, too perceptive for her own good of my husband’s revolutionary tendencies.)
Admittedly, the weekend of celebrations was not quite what I expected it to be. First of all, the very British but very uncooperative weather meant I didn’t get the chance to wear the long, light cotton sundress that I’d bought for the occasion in the colours of the flag. Secondly, our village decided to have a party in the recreation ground, rather than the street. To my mind, you can’t beat a street party. But we did have a jolly good time.
My best memories will be:
- laughing at the egg-catching competition on the rec (we were having so much fun that we didn’t realise the showers had turned into torrents until it was finished)
- snuggling under a blanket in front of a log fire with my daughter Laura, slightly steaming as we dried off after said village party, as we watched the Royal Flotilla (also in pouring rain)
- a frisson of pleasure watching the Queen and her inner circle start jigging up and down to the sounds of the Sailors’ Hornpipe played by the floating Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
- being astonished by the colour and imagination of the Jubilee-themed Flower Festival at the local church
- trekking up to our village’s Beacon Bonfire and spotting the next one at Uley, 10 miles or so away
After all, the whole point of a Beacon Bonfire is to be seen from afar, and send a kind of Mexican wave of bonfires across the length and breadth of the nation. And for a moment there, the nation felt just like a close-knit village. It was a fabulous feeling, and I really hope we don’t have to wait another 60 years to feel that way again. God Save The Queen!
If you like the British Royal Family, you might like these posts:
A taste of the Jubilee Flower Festival at St Mary’s Church, Hawkesbury Upton
Footnote: I’ve just heard that my friend Mary Beresford, who masterminded this Flower Festival, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for service to her community. I’m so pleased for her!