Saturday, 2 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee

We are a divided household on all matters royal. Personally, I love history and tradition and celebrations and was keen to revel in the excitement of being in London for the Diamond Jubilee. Marto on the other hand is not so much an anti-fan as decidedly negative about the monarchy as a whole. Still, I wasn't about to let such a weekend pass without some kind of celebration. 

We reached a compromise. A lunch billed as a celebration of the first anniversary of Delilah living with us. Marto used the first two courses as an opportunity to open a bunch of old wines he and a friend bought a while ago. I used the pudding course as an opportunity to be jubilee themed, making a patriotic pavlova and serving it on jubilee plates and napkins. The cheese course was neutral.

I haven't had as much time as normal, I can't think why, to read about the weekend, to watch programmes about it and look at photographs. I'm not even sure exactly what events are planned, aside from a flotilla tomorrow which I will try and watch, because it appeals to something in me. The romantic perhaps? Plus, I love boats. It reminds me a little of the call for small boats to sail to Dunkirk and the procession of them gathering in the Thames and sailing in company for the meeting in Ramsgate before navigating the channel and helping rescue troops from the beaches of Normandy in a heroic act which helped raise the morale of the nation. {One of my favourite books is a children's book by Hester Burton, In Spite of All Terror. The description of Ben joining his grandfather in the 'little ships of Dunkirk' resonated far beyond my reading of the book. So much so, in fact, that I wrote my university dissertation on children's literature and the Second World War, with In Spite of All Terror as one of my key texts. But that's another story, for another time.}

Perhaps what appeals to me the most about the jubilee is the opportunity to reminisce, to celebrate the past as the present. It's not about the monarchy, per se, but British history, of the passing of time but also continuity. Much like marriage and our own families, the monarchy represents the same to me but on a national scale. This jubilee ties me to the jubilee of my parents' generation (they were graduating from university and were married the year after). To street parties and beacons and what feels like the definition of  British *history* and *celebration*. For no other reason than any other wedding or anniversary, and the buzz of excitement, because at the very least, everyone likes a party and a bonus day off work.

And this photo, to me, represents all of this. An ordinary couple, a lifetime of commitment. To each other, as well as to the nation. Perhaps that's why I find the Queen so reassuring. I'm not sure whether this photo was taken to celebrate their own personal anniversary, or whether it was released to commemorate the jubilee. Hell, I couldn't even find a photo credit. It doesn't show a queen, there is no glamour or glitz to it, just a (well taken) snap shot. And, in the first photo, an amazing jacket being worn by Princess Elizabeth (I assume it was taken prior to her coronation based on her outfit as it appears more 1940s than 1950s to me, although I am very willing to stand corrected). 

Anyway, happy jubilee weekend, whether you are celebrating or not.

{I found this photo on google images with no photo credit. If anyone knows of one, please email and I will add it. I can't imagine the shopping website's facebook page where it was posted was the original photographer, but if it was, I will gladly update this to include a link}


Anonymous said...

I think a lot of people share your views of the jubilee celebrations. I certainly do. I wouldn't call myself a royalist, but there is something about a big national flag-waving event that makes me feel incredibly proud to be British.

Separately, when we were at the Imperial War Museum in Manchester recently, they had an exhibition about children's literature and World War Two. Very interesting. I imagine it was a fascinating dissertation topic.

one soul said...

All this weekend my father-in-law insisted on calling me a closet monarchist. I suspect I gave him reason to. ;)

Jon Ohayon said...

I think there will be a lot of folks who are going to celebrate this, whether some people will just ignore and carry on with their lives. However, its history is very interesting for most to disregard and forget.