I’m really excited about the jubilee weekend. Yes, this may have something to do with five, uninterrupted days off (a way to enthuse people about monarchy if there ever was one) but also because the predisposition to getting excited about such things has been well entrenched in me since being a tiny tot.
As a born and raised resident of Windsor not a year went by at school without us being called up for flag waving duty at Windsor Castle for some ambassador or other. We learned the history of the castle at school. We watched it burn in ’92 with huge sadness. My wedding was next door to the castle (complete with tourists wandering into the ceremony and taking pictures!!) My novel, that I like to consider is maturing like a good cheese (rather than temporarily set aside!), is about monarchy in Britain.
|A Windsor Wedding!|
Then there was the highlight of primary school, the year your class got to go to the parade for the Knights of the Garter. All the royal family walked or drove past as we sat in the baking heat (it’s always baking in childhood memories isn’t it?!), waving our flags and cheering. On the day I went to the Garter service I had a packet of vanilla chewitts in my pocket which went all gooey in the sun making them even MORE perfect. The two things will be forever linked in my mind, just as celebrations to do with the royal family and having a jolly good time are.
|Crafts for all occasions!|
I know there are many reasons to hop up and down about monarchy but I have a lot of time for the Queen (Windsor indoctrination speaking…!) It’s not often that you have an example of someone who was called to a way of life, that perhaps she wouldn’t have chosen, and has fulfilled that unceasingly with such grace and skill.
When I was Head Girl of my school in Windsor (I’ll give you a moment to chortle about that…..) the Queen Mother passed away. We lined the streets in silence as she was driven past to her resting place with her husband in St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle. It was a very moving moment, full of dignity, and for the first time I was touched by how important that is, for any life to end with respect and thanksgiving. Standing there as a representative of our school and community at only 17 years old was one of those moments that I look back on as a flag being staked in the ground. A hint at my future where issues like service, death and dignity in it will be part of my thinking and even my day to day.
So I’ve learned a lot from growing up around monarchy. And it still gives me a kick to have a woman on the throne (and as the Supreme Head of the Church of England - what with all the dramas we’re still having about female Bishops!) when we as women can still face such opposition when taking up positions of leadership. Our Queen models what it is to be a woman in leadership, and faithful to a calling, very well indeed and I, for one, am very thankful for it.
So Happy Diamond Jubilee everyone!