Friday, 10 June 2016

The Queen's 90th Official Brithday celebrations

Today is the first day of the three-day-long celebration of the Queen's 90th official birthday.

Today is marked by a religious service at St Paul's Cathedral, whilst the Queen's Birthday Parade (better known as the 'Trooping The Colour' ceremony) takes place tomorrow. On Sunday a huge picnic will take place in the centre of London. Other celebrations - both formal and informal - will take place across the country.

Unlike in 1953 (when I was one of the children photographed at the Coronation street party shown below) ...


... I will not be attending any of the celebrations that are taking place near to where I live.

The Queen was born in the same year as my father (she was born the month before he was) at a time when the UK was in the grip of industrial and social unrest (the 1926 General Strike took place from 4th to 13th May 1926), and she became monarch on the death of King George V om 6th February 1952, one day before my second birthday.

I know that not everyone is a monarchist like me, but living in a monarchy does have its advantages over a republic where the head of state has to be elected every four, five, or six years. I am particularly pleased that we don't have to go through the sort of campaigning that has been taking place in the United States over the past few months; I suspect that if we did it would be worse than the political shenanigans that have been plaguing us during the Leave/Remain campaign.

26 comments:

  1. The Monarchy is Irrelevant, most people I know are just ignoring it. Republic is a great word.

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    1. Simon Jones,

      We both have the rights to our differing opinions, which is why we are lucky to live in a place where we can express them without fear.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. God bless her Bob. I wish her (and you) joy of the day!

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    1. Conrad Kinch,

      Cheers! I know that I will enjoy the next three days, and I hope that the Queen will as well.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. "but living in a monarchy does have its advantages over a republic where the head of state has to be elected every four, five, or six years."

    I would say that it's the only adavantage. When Australia finally ditches it's adherence to a foreign head of state, my proposal for a replacement is the horse which wins the Melbourne Cup each year. The selection process is no less arbitrary and a horse could perform all of the direct governmental functions required, delegating the other functions to an equivalent of the current Governor General. Perhaps an equerry.

    When I see or read about any celebrations of a 90th birthday this weekend, I will mentally replace the Queen with Sir David Attenborough. Now I'd turn out for a street-party in his honour.

    And I'd like to have him as head of state too, please :)

    (We get a day off work for the Queen's Birthday here in NSW. It's very nice :) )

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    1. Kaptain Kobold,

      Having seen some Australian politicians in action on TV, I think that your suggestion has merit!

      I have no great love or respect for many members of the current Royal Family, but I think that the concept of an hereditary monarchy is ingrained in British society, and - as I stated earlier - I think that it is better than the alternative.

      Attenborough as head of state? I can think of worse choices!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. I myself am no great fan of the Royal family other than Queen Elizabeth, first of her name in Scotland, who has played a blinder in her role. Long may she continue.

    I hope Charles and William have been paying attention.

    On the republic issues I have been speaking to many Americans in the last few weeks and none of them had a good word for Donald Trump and only one of them mentioned Sanders. The political process itself was not criticised.

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    1. A lot of people either love or hate 'The Donald.' he says a lot of stuff that a lot of people love and that is why he has got as far as he has. The main good thing about him is he has stopped political correctness in its tracks. For this reason there are many people who forgive his more 'ill considered statements'. On the other hand, his talk first, think later approach is a worry.

      Of course, whilst many Americans prefer him over Hilary Clinton one could not imagine him as a king, at least not a British one.

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    2. Jim Duncan,

      I totally agree with you on the role that the present Queen has played, and I do hope that whoever follows her on the throne is capable of continuing the work she has done.

      With regard to Mr Trump, I suspect that he represents a certain section of society (and not one that is confined to the US) who feel that they have been sidelined and forgotten by the so-called political elite, and whose concerns have not been voiced before. I suspect that he will poll quite well in some areas, but I hope not too well as I personally think that President Trump could be a disaster for the US.

      As to the process the Americans use to choose their candidates ... well, having followed it as best I could on CNN, it seems slightly more democratic than selection from an approved list by a local committee in a proverbially smoke-filled room, which is how it seems to have been done in the main parties in the UK for far too long!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. James James,

      I can understand why people who feel undervalued, sidelined, and ignored might see Mr Trump as representing their views ... and I can understand why they might wish to vote for him.

      I wonder how many Americans would wish to have 'None of the above' on the voting form when it comes to the Presidential Election. I suspect that such an option might go down well with some!

      The thought of Donald Trump as a king seems quite hilarious now ... but so did his candidacy for the office of President of the United States a few months back!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. As an Australian I have the utmost respect and love for Queen Elizabeth. Part of it is admiration for her manner and endurance. The other is my nostalgia for my childhood, of which the Queen's portrait in every classroom and singing God Save the Queen was a part. I loved that song, even though I am an atheist!

    I don't mind the other members of the Royals either. I like prince Charles and would not mind him as king, although others like prince Harry. The fact is Charles is next in line. If I was to pick my favourite royal it would be prince Phillip. I know he has a history of putting his foot in it but that is endearing in a way as he had a sense of humor immune to the stifling political correctness. I felt sorry for him though, that he could never be called king.

    Attenborough would make a good king,, probably because he has that soothing voice. Nigella Lawson is another non-royal I could imagine as a royal, for the same reason.

    But even if I disliked the particular royal it is the institution I like which is part of a checks and balances system which we share in Australia. The royal family is above the political scrum of elections but also compliments that democratic system. There popularity is not confined to those of british descent either. I remember, in mt 20s at university, meting a friend's Serbian dad who was the keenest supporter of the monarchy you could meet, partly because of the unfortunate history of his own land.

    it is also part of our shared history and culture.

    By the way, despite our earlier referendum which defeated the republic push the republicans always want to push the goal posts. They have a dismal future as the supposed future of republicanism being based on the younger generation has an uphill climb as the younger ones are actually less interested in pushing for a republic. The younger royals popularity has contributed to this.

    The Popularity of the royals in the USA is also immense in the USA although they long ago cut themselves loose.

    Most important though is that we get to see all those retro uniforms on display!

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    1. James James,

      You and I seem to share a similar view of the Queen and the role she plays in the governance of both our countries. We are very lucky that the Queen has so many years of experience on which to draw, and I understand that every Prime Minister of the UK who has met her at their weekly meetings has expressed a high regard for her knowledge and understanding.

      In some ways it's a good thing that those who support the introduction of a republican style of government continue to challenge the concept of a monarchy; the latter can never rest on its laurels as long as the debate continues, and it will hopefully ensure that our current democratic monarchy will continue to adapt to the changing world in which it functions.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. I have always admired the Queen, especially for her youthful service during the Second World War. I wish her continued good health, and happiness.
    -Steve(a Yank)

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    1. Steven Page,

      When one remembers that she was not born to be a monarch, but became one because her father had to step into the role when his elder brother abdicated, we must be grateful that it enabled her to enjoy a secure and close family environment during her formative years. It kept her grounded, and we in the UK have all benefited from that.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. We always seem to forget the precedent of the mid seventeenth century - the concept of "The Sovereign People..." and a Sovereign Parliament. As ever, we have been there before!
    And it wasn't "a failed experiment.

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    1. Barry Carter,

      Cutting off the King's head was a drastic - if necessary - means for the concept of monarchy in Britain to progress. I might be prepared to argue about whether or not the government England enjoyed during the interregnum was a failure or not, but it certainly paved the way for the eventual creation of a democratic monarchy.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Not looking for a debate, but it is always worth remembering that if ever the occasion should arise we have no need for an elected President - or a Protector - the precedent is there for us to follow should we so desire.

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    3. Barry Carter,

      True ... but I somehow think that whatever system of government we ended up with, there would still be someone who was primus inter pares..

      It was interesting to see two regiments on parade today that had began life as part of the New Model Army.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. I really don't like getting political, especially when it comes to blogs about hobbies, but... You overlook the opposite party. Bernie Sanders is also an outsider, even though he's been in politics his whole life. He's socialist and proud of it. He is to the Democrats what Trump is to Republicans. Both candidates appeal to the "disenfranchised". I, myself, have voted more for third party candidates than the two big parties; I'm waiting to see who the third party candidates have to offer. As for the royal family, I can't imagine England without royalty. Tradition isn't all bad.

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    1. Jhnptrqn,

      Funnily enough, my original blog entry was not intended to spark off a political discussion, but somehow it has!

      It is interesting to see the way in which political terminology is different on the two sides of the Atlantic. In the UK Bernie Sanders would probably be regarded as a 'One Nation' Tory, not a Socialist. (By the way, I thought that many of his policies made a lot of sense and would have improved the lot of the average American ... but as I am a 'One Nation' Tory I would, wouldn't I?)

      My knowledge of American history is not wonderful, but I cannot think of a third party candidate - other than Teddy Roosevelt when he lead the Bull Moose Party - who every stood much of a chance of getting elected President. I think that the Socialists have mounted a few credible challenges over the years, but not in recent campaigns.

      England (and the rest of the UK) would be a much weakened entity without its traditions ... even if some of them are a relatively recent invention. The problem is that we tend to take them for granted until they are under threat, at which point people start to get very agitated and likely to actually do something ... even if it is only to form a committee and to write letters to the newspapers.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  9. Long live the Queen!
    Maybe she'd take us back in the US, if we were extra nice an added a lot of "u's" to our words... :-)

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    1. Gonsalvo,

      It's a nice idea, but somehow I can't see it happening. A worthy endeavour, but the political manoeuvring required might not find favour with everyone.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  10. An interesting photo Bob, it's a bit surreal to think that all those children will be pensioners now!
    Best wishes, Brian

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    1. Brian Carrick,

      I hadn't thought of it like that ... but you are right!

      All the best,

      Bob

      PS. Having looked for myself in the photo, I cannot see me. I do, however, know where the photo was taken; it was in Frazier Street, Lambeth.

      The area contained a number of blocks of flats that were built c1890 for workers on the Southern Railway (Waterloo Station was only a few minutes walk away). My great grandmother lived in one of the flats, which is why I went to the party in that street.

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  11. "Nigella Lawson is another non-royal I could imagine as a royal, for the same reason."

    If there was a Nigella/Attenborough monarchy then even *I* might be convinced to stand for loyal toasts and the national anthem.

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    1. Kaptain Kobold,

      A Lawson/Attenborough monarchy? It's an interesting thought!

      All the best,

      Bob

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