Tears of a Crown

Of late I find myself crying at the slightest thing. A couple of weeks ago there was a rendition of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on the telly as part of the BBC Proms season. I recorded it at the time and watched it last night. I cried, as the chorus got into their stride, tears came to my eyes, tears of joy I think, I certainly wasn.t sad or upset.

I sat and watched the procession taking the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall and I was filled with what I can only describe as a deep pride at the events unfolding and again, a tear came to my eye.

I’m not what you’d call a royalist, I’m certainly not what I’d call a royalist. I have however always had an interest in matters of state, matters of protocol, pomp and circumstance.

When I was 10, I cut-out the colour photos of the investiture of the Prince of Wales from various national newspapers and stuck them on my bedroom wall. I was rapt in the pageantry of it all, it was a tangible link to thousands of years of history in these British Isles.

After that, my relationship with the royal family consisted solely my interactions with coins, banknotes and postage stamps which all bore a likeness of the Queen

Then Charlie got married to that Diana woman and royals were in the news again. There were three of them in that marriage, then a car crash in a French tunnel. Royal shenanigans.

Philip and the odd inappropriate comment here and there.
Anne and Mark. Andrew and Fergie. Did Edward’s marriage fall apart? To tell you the truth I don’t know, I wasn’t paying that much attention.

But the Queen, the Queen was always there, stoically putting up with things come reign or shine. Yes, the Queen, I suppose I’d always has a soft spot for her, Philip too actually, they came as a pair.

Silver Jubilee, Diamond Jubilee, Platinum Jubilee, Christmas day at three. The likenesses on the banknotes and coins showed a progressively older woman, I looked in the mirror and I was older too.

She was always there, the Queen, dark hair, grey hair, white hair, always there.
On horseback in Horse Guards Parade, sitting on a dais in the shade and for some reason I’m trying to rhyme these lines I’m afraid.

I’ll stop attempts at rhyme.

She got smaller, frailer. At some point I began to feel that every time we saw her at an event, was a bonus. We all knew that she wouldn’t last forever, and I think we all knew that she wasn’t going to abdicate her responsibilities as Queen and my word, she was there, working to the end.

Those photos of Truss meeting the Queen at Sandringham, The Queen looked so small and so frail, Truss who is no giant herself, seemed to tower above the Queen. An unfortunate camera angle perhaps, a monarch shrunken in size but not reputation.

And then a few days later the Queen was dead, long live the King.

It’s a line from history. It always seemed so impersonal to me, but the monarchy goes on. The Queen is dead, long live the King.

I was in a pub on Thursday 8th when the news came through that the Queen had died. I lifted my glass and said those words, ‘The Queen is dead, long live the King.’ Those sitting at the table there with me joined in with the toast.

The seemingly interminable sport on the pub telly was turned off and the news special was put on, we sat and absorbed the information, and more beer. Cheers, Your Majesty.

I was tempted to go off down to London and get into the queue to file past the Queen’s coffin lying on its catafalque (what a lovely word…). Tempted, but I refrained.

I’ve been watching the news specials and at one point I was thinking that maybe this is what it’s like in Russia right now, in respect of media coverage. We were getting no news at all about the wider world. Maybe that’s right and proper, maybe not, maybe it’s protocol.

I shall be watching the funeral on Monday 19th and no doubt I’ll shed a small tear, or two.

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