Saturday, November 20, 2010

Made in Great Britain.

I was very delighted this week when the Royal engagement was announced. I was genuinely happy for the Queen and the Royal family. Its illogical seeing that I have lived 'here' almost as long as I lived 'there' but there is some part of me that is forever British and proud of it. Perhaps I took my girl guiding a bit too seriously but I distinctly remember swearing very reverently in the Methodist Church Hall at the corner of Kiln Lane and Bleak Hill Road with three fingers raised, if I remember rightly, at shoulder level that.....

"I promise that I will do my best:
to love my God,
to serve the Queen and my country,
to help people and to keep the Guide Law.

I truly admire her - the Queen, that is, and love all the pomp and circumstance that she brings to England's pastures green. I write to HRH and the family - not too often - I do try to be considerate, and I will definitely be shopping for an engagement card for the young couple. I have sent a message already via Facebook and the London Telegraph's website.
One of my most treasured possessions are the letters I have received in reply from members of the Royal family. Of course I know that THEY didn't write them but I am sure that they are aware of them and will feel its a very sad day when the Royal Mail van only delivers the gas bill, a pack of free cards that are painted by disabled people and the mailers for stair lifts and double glazing. It must be very reassuring for Ma'am to have those sacks of mail from people like me dropped off that the palace gates.

I have visited Buckingham Palace many times and went inside two years ago, she wasn't at home, she was at Windsor  - I've been there too! It was just so lovely walking on the carpet that the Queen has walked on and admiring her furniture and treasured ornaments. She has two of everything of that I am sure because everything looked balanced and orderly - not a crooked picture, used coffee mug or frayed antimacassar to be seen anywhere. I wonder how ma'am would cope with the kids leaving their shoes in the lounge or stuffing their sweet wrappers and crisp packets down the back of the settee. I wonder how she responds to chaos - if she has ever experienced it?
I went with my sister Julia to both Buckingham Palace and Clarence House in one day and in our excitement we had 'tiara moments' where we felt compelled to whisk out our silver crowns tastefully trimmed with pink funky fur and celebrate our patriotism as we wandered through the rooms. We posed outside in them - No photography inside of course and we wouldn't have been so common as to whisk our cameras out while in the state room - well I am sure its not the done thing!
I loved the splendour and 24carat gold of Buckingham Palace as much as I loved the chintz and china of Clarence House, which used to be the Queen Mother's residence. The staff at Clarence House still refer to the Queen Mother as Queen Elizabeth - I never asked what they call ma'am! Clarence House had family photos dotted around - not official photos - I imagined Queen Elizabeth whipping her Kodak Instamatic out of her handbag and snapping the grandchildren. It had an old fashioned English garden complete with an herbaceous border of lavender, burgundy geraniums and pink roses. Apparently her grandson Charles planted it for her!
I think that I was brought up on a diet of red, white and blue - perhaps it was part of the curriculum. I know all the words to Jerusalem; I remember the Queens birthday 21 April 1926 , her official birthday celebrated on the 1st Sunday in June; and the date and year she was married 19 November 1947. (Both Mark and Helen and my parents were married on 19 November - is that a coincidence?) Despite what Africa thinks or the rest of the world, I believe that Britian is still Great Britain and that we are a mighty nation and have a proud history and much to celebrate. Including the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
I am so looking forward to a Royal Wedding next year. Now where did I put that tiara?

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