This weekend, my country celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen, Elizabeth II.
On one level there is absolutely nothing original I can say about this. What follows therefore is purely my perspective. I don’t make any claims to great thought or profound reflection, or even witty comment. Just what I think on my sovereign.
Sixty years is almost twice my life on this earth. The Queen, for me, is a fact of my existence. It also follows therefore I rarely think about her, or the monarchy. I mean, how often does one think of facts of life, like driving on the left, or that an hour has sixty minutes, or that the sky is blue? The closest human analogy I can think of is a parent or grand-parent, also perhaps an elder sibling (though as the eldest sibling I myself can’t relate to that). She has always been there.
Of course, the Queen is human, elderly and ageing, and one day (hopefully not for many years yet) she will leave my life. I am not looking forward to the day, but when it comes I will mourn. Not excessively I hope, but with thankfulness for all she has done for me with her long service.
The Queen defines herself with concepts of duty and service – to her country, to her people. We are her people. I am one of her people. She is my Queen. Possessive, mine by right of birth. Her service to me is to be there, to keep going even when her own family is afflicted with disaster, to provide the stability that helps keep my world turning. I hope I am worthy of that service and self-sacrifice.
I also feel another gentle connection with the Queen, like me she has married an immigrant to this island. Fair enough the circumstances were somewhat different – but nevertheless I cannot help but imagine a connection there.
I can muster various political and constitutional reasons why I think it is a good idea to have someone partially removed from the process of elections. I won’t express them here, this isn’t a political post. Also, they ultimately don’t matter, because no amount of intellectual reasoning explains the deep emotional connection I feel to the Queen, and also to the Royal Family. There is that sense of connection though, it has been with me for a very long time.
In these next few days I will give thanks for sixty years. Some of those years have been trouble-filled. Others have been glorious. I will also hope that we will share another celebration or two in years hence, hoping that she will still be with us, with me. Because I am very conscious that it is possible this will be the last large-scale celebration we can have, until we commemorate her at a wake.
God Save the Queen.