Happy birthday, Ma’am

The Queen at the Trooping of the Colour (Daily Telegraph)
The Queen at the Trooping of the Colour (Daily Telegraph)

I’m neither a Royalist nor a Republican.  I’m pretty indifferent to the lives of the Royal family, though on balance I think they fulfil a useful role in society. Elected Presidents bring little in the way of colour and charm to the kinds of jobs – opening factories and presenting awards – which are their frequent lot.  I don’t begrudge them their large income, because nothing on earth would persuade me that their lives, constantly in the public gaze, are worth living.

Our indifference was a cause of constant bemusement to our French neighbours.  These devout Republicans knew more, via the likes of ‘Hello’ magazine, than I had ever thought to enquire about.  They were astonished that I did not have my finger on the pulse of life in ‘Buckingham’, that I knew little and cared less about Kate and her pregnancy – the Royal story of choice in our final weeks living in France.

But today, the Queen is in the news.  It’s her ‘Official’ birthday, her 90th.  British monarchs have all had two birthdays since the reign of George III in 1748, to enable them to enjoy any celebrations in the summer months.  And today, throughout Britain , communities have welcomed the excuse to get together and party.  The Queen is well liked and respected, the longest reigning monarch in British history, the world’s oldest monarch, and apparently still pretty sprightly and healthy.  That’s worth getting out the bunting, a few bottles of fizz and some home-baked cakes for, surely?

Here’s the Royal Jam prepared by my friend Jonet for their street party in Harrogate.

Jonet's loyal jam.
Jonet’s loyal jam.

And here’s the party I went to in Ripon.  Three members of our choir live in this particular street, so we all went along and sang to everybody, and ate, and drank  and made merry, and admitted that the date of this particular knees-up had been fixed long before anyone realised it was HMQ’s birthday.

Street party in full swing.
Street party in full swing.

Well, does it matter?  Any excuse for a party.  And since it was a thoroughly English party, the rain arrived, as predicted, at 3.30, just as everyone was being rounded up for rounders on the green.

14 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Ma’am”

  1. Your views on the Royal family mirror mine exactly! And it’s rained in London too. Thanks for doing the decent thing with such a nice post.

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  2. We had some sunshine where I’m staying with family in Oxford – it was prosecco and bunting in the garden, then afternoon tea with little flags inside round the tea table. A very British day!

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  3. I agree with your views on our Royal Family completely. I’d hate to have to do what they do and be watched all the time.
    We had the choice of about three events to go to but in the end didn’t go to any of them. By the time I’d got back from taking Mum to church it was nearly 1.00 pm and I was needing a cup of tea. My husband wasn’t feeling too good so we stayed at home. He spent a wonderful afternoon watching the football and dozing!
    I like your street-party photo – our rain arrived a little before yours did.

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  4. I like your Queen. I like that she’s still smiling and always looks so put together and seems to keep her calm, regardless of what her progeny are doing at any particular moment. In the middle of our terrible mass shootings and ridiculous political stunts, your country seems civilized and calm and sensible. Ours doesn’t.

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    1. I wish ours did too. You aren’t confronted by the day-to-day nastiness of the Brexit campaign. Both sides could benefit from looking at the positives of their points of view, instead of all the negatives. But yes, I think the Queen sets a fine example, and is generally A Good Thing.

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  5. We have your queen as our head of state too although most of us are also indifferent. We have a long weekend holiday at the end of May – Victoria Day – to celebrate another queen…although most here call it ‘May two-four’ since it falls around that date and many celebrate with a case of 24 beer! …and it often rains mosquitos. I admit though that the queen has a magnificent hat collection and she wears them so well.

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