Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee was the celebration of the century
Published 8:00 am Thursday, June 9, 2022
Anglophile that I am of course I watched copious amounts of coverage from Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee. It seems impossible that I had actually been in England during her Silver Jubilee and what a big deal that seemed then— a reign from 1952 to 1977. It’s breathtaking to think she would soldier on, with only the most minor of physical complaints, until she hit her latest landmark in 2022.
The United Kingdom, much like the States (and Europe), is suffering from staggering inflation and oil prices. There are foodstuffs in short supply with items so expensive that it has been reported people are skipping meals. The average price of gasoline is nearing $6 per gallon and, for the many who use diesel, just over $7.00
So why would anyone turn out to wave the flag and cheer a monarch who has, along with her family, lived a life of luxury at the taxpayer’s expense?
Turns out, millions would.
Just as millions tuned in to watch the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, all those decades ago. With all of its glittering pageantry, during difficult economic times there appeared to be a need for an old-fashioned fairy tale (so we thought at the time) as well as a distraction from one’s daily grind. It certainly was for me, despite getting up in the wee hours to watch the event unfold, live.
The number of people last weekend who crowded the mall towards Buckingham Palace was astonishing. Street parties took place throughout the country. Roads were closed off to cars. Long tables clad in Union Jack bunting and crowded with cakes and teapots were placed through the center of villages as neighbors feasted together to celebrate the day. And those who secured a place outside the palace—with cheering children seated on their shoulders to get a better view—to watch their diminutive head of state, resplendent in bright green dress and hat—waving to them all, took home an experience they know won’t come again. Never will they see, or will their children see, a monarch reign for 70 years.
Don’t get me started on the charming video that was shot of the Queen having tea with Paddington Bear. I was, along with girlfriends, reduced to goo. The marmalade sandwich in her purse—I can’t even, ya’ll…Even when her horses are winning races, I’ve never seen her face so animated with joy.
At the end of the festivities, the point driven home to me was so much more than the pageantry, Rod Stewart singing ’Sweet Caroline’ with Prince George obligingly offering his ‘Bom, bom, bom!’ during the chorus, or the bonfires lit across the country. It was the grand gesture from citizens for one woman whom they see as their steadfast grandmother, their defender of the faith, their Queen.
Quite literally, millions of people went out of their way to say “WE LOVE YOU!” That’s powerful stuff. It reverberated not only through the land but, for me, right through the television screen. And even though America fought for its independence so that we wouldn’t have a King or Queen, during these incredibly violent and difficult times in which we now live, we could all do with a lot more of that.