Friday, 8 June 2012

My Memories of the Diamond Jubilee

Before the inevitable fading in my mind of The Diamond Jubilee, I want to "fix" my most precious in writing: 
  • the national anthem in Church during which I was moved by the thought "This may be the only time I sing this in church for a female Sovereign - as I am never likely to live under another one";
  • our local main street in Southborough, Kent decked in bunting with each shop window dressed in a royal theme. Most were about "Tea with the Queen" but I particularly liked "Snowear" the ski shop that becomes "Sunwear" in summer using a reversible nameplate. It had a Prince Philip face mask fully dressed in a ski suit. Clearly, summer has not yet arrived!
  • chatting to organisers of a hidden exhibition on Southborough's rich local history in the Town Hall and finding out that Shakespeare's patron, Lord Hunsdon, lived here - and that the Bard might have visited and seen "South Frith", our valley, when it was a royal chase;
  • hearing a local inter-church choir in a small church ambitiously sing Handel's "Zadok the Priest" from the Queen's Coronation with such aplomb and spirit that it was just like being in Westminster Abbey;  the organist playing Elgar;
  • romantic and beautiful Renee Fleming and Alfie Boe on one of Buckingham Palace's balconies singing "Somewhere"  from Bernstein's "West Side Story". I even wondered whether this was the Queen's own request;
  • Paul McCartney's song "Live and Let Die" which has a couple of gut-wrenching harmonies given added drama by dramatic explosions. It comes to a wild and anarchic climax which reminded me of what this country would be without order and respect. Interestingly, it starts with full romantic harmony and ends in mechanical chaos, reflecting its lyrics which tell the story of moral degradation from well-wishing innocence to dehumanised misanthropy;
  • the choral and congregational singing at St Paul's Service of Thanksgiving - and The Archbishop's Jubilee sermon;
  • a smiling Queen in Angela Kelly's ice mint outfit , its cool colour scheme inspired by an appropriate couple of diamonds the size of the Ritz (see note below), radiant against the grimy streets of London.
Other observations:  
  • a truly "national event" which ignored the dreadful weather;
  • a purification of toxic post-modernism which left behind an indelible flavour of something fine, something to apire to - unity and community;
  • the power of a single, elderly, almost frail person, through values of work, duty and service to recreate a fractured nation;
  • an event of "homage" and "degree" quite out of step with "equality", which felt healthy due to the humble character and mutual service of the Queen herself;
  • envied by half the world.  What does Italy have to compare to the Queen but football or the San Remo song festival? What does France have but a President in a blue suit?   What does America have but "The Oscars"? What does Germany have?  All these national events seem diminished, by comparison, because they do not focus on "Christian service".  Moreover, everyone knew it. 
Above all, I loved the sheer effort of local people determined to celebrate. This made it, for me, such a stunning event.   The Queen herself thanked them.

Further Notes
The Queen wore pieces of the priceless Cullinan diamond, the largest cut diamond in the world, which itself would help feed a million starving for several months. However, it belongs to the nation, not to the Queen.

"The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Trust" has been set up to aid, among others, the disabled: the first fund to give scholarships to the disabled of the Commonwealth. I also like its "Urban Food" theme - setting up six gardens to show people in cities taht they can grow their own food. Its Care with Dignity Fund helps the elderly poor.

My Jubilee Photo
This photo below is me last Sunday with some wheat-free Jubilee cakes that I had baked to share after the Morning Service at Church - using a kit from "Waitrose" -

Interesting video
The Archbishop of Canterbury talks here about the CofE's Supreme Governor being its "final court of appeal on what the Church can do under law", on the Queen's role as "Defender of the Faith" and as "senior lay person" in the Church of England.

Interesting Fact
During the Queen's 60 year reign, the Bible has been translated into 408 new languages in the Commonwealth's 54 countries - set out here.


  1. Hi Annis. I liked this. We spent most of Sunday in church watching events on the big screen and welcoming the parishioners with cream teas. I've also added the Urban Food theme to favourites as this is very much what we want to do.
    Thanks again.

  2. I thought it was an event totally centred on religious and civic unity and community. We had a reception in church at the concert with free food and wine for around 300 by the local Mayor and Sub Lord Lieutenant of Kent - v small church too. It brought everyone together. I just added this to the blog:

    Interesting Fact
    During the Queen's 60 year reign, the Bible has been translated into 408 new languages in the Commonwealth's 54 countries - set out here.