Why we’ve not been Drama Queens over the Diamond Jubilee

June 5, 2012 3:22 pm

When I began writing this article I was bordering on cynical, but perhaps that’s just me feeling bitter and selfish for the fact that despite it being called the ‘Royal Mail’, the people in the postal service are (and rightly so) enjoying the double bank holiday meaning I won’t get the letter I want delivered in time. I considered arguing that simply celebrating sixty years of living in the public eye was nothing spectacular and didn’t really see that the Queen had done anything remotely spectacular in her time, that that role had been taken on my others of her generation who are either dead or live an uncelebrated existence. Then I changed my mind when I really thought about what her Royal Majesty’s time on the throne represents. I realized that it was not simply her personal life as a born celebrity, or an outdated celebration of a structure whose power diminished years ago, but a celebration of a woman whose experiences in life allow her to connect with every generation and allow us through her to see our nation’s living history and identity.

The Queen’s sovereignty has seen some of the greatest social changes in history and, therefore, her presence represents the locomotive in historical, political and social value. “The Queen is not above society, she’s in it, and reflects it” states The Duke of York.* I agree with this; she embodies every part of the community, in her twilight years she is a mother, grandmother, wife, friend and even dog owner. She is the woman who saw the Second World War and acted as the centre structure in seeing the country rebuilt. Her sixty years not only defines her life, but victory in the face of evil and what could have been destroyed. The monarch’s power may no longer be the foundations of political structure, but it remains an important decoration to our social structure and brings the people together from all walks of life in a collective celebration of a woman who is clearly regarded a national treasure.

Queen Elizabeth dedicated her life to one of service at just 21 years old

While I was always the first to sarcastically state that the Queen must have such a difficult life, attending pageants, shaking hands, hosting garden parties and receiving flowers, I feel that maybe I have been too harsh on her. As born celebrity, she is always in the limelight and is the figure that everyone looks up to and admires. She did not ask for her life to be so exposed, yet she embraces it and uses her position for good to the best of her ability. It seems that as trivial as some of her functions seem, they are ongoing and I know that they do give great pleasure to the ordinary folk who have the opportunity to meet her and other royals. Her responsibilities are never ending, and for a woman who is a great-grandmother, instead of sitting in a comfy chair drinking tea and having someone take care of her, she is as good as her word that she vowed on her 21st birthday in 1947, that she saw her life as one of service. She never ceases to do her duty, even on Christmas day, when the likes of me are mooching around in my onesie eating chocolate; she is, as always, being first and foremost the Queen that she always promised to be.

I believe that what the Jubilee has inspired, above all, is a reignited love of our ‘Britishness’, whatever that may be. At the very top of the list (shortly followed by tea!) is the Queen, who is clearly a beloved figure as thousands of people have donned the red, white and blue theme and organised events across the country to congratulate her on her remarkable reign that, at only 4 years behind the record of the longest ruling monarch, Queen Victoria looks to see another celebration in 5 years time. While others may argue that such an extravagant celebration seems ridiculous in comparison to other world events or disasters that are occurring at this moment in time, I would like to point out that such problems will not be solved even if we did not enjoy the festivities that a historical moment allows. In a country that has been badly hit by recession, badly governed and recently lied to by its politicians, the Jubilee gives the public something to smile about and encourages pride and respect in itself as a nation. And that surely can’t be bad. So, pick up a Pimm’s, wave a flag and be proud that Britain has something great about it!

Congratulations Elizabeth II on your Diamond Jubilee, and in the ringing traditions of history, may I be able to say with pride, ‘Long Live the Queen!’
*quote taken from Majesty Magazine, Vol33, NO6

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