I’ll be flying the flag for 60 years of Her Majesty
Last updated at 20:20, Thursday, 31 May 2012
I am pinning my colours to the mast this week – and those colours are red, white and blue!
I hope the vast majority of you will be enjoying some kind of celebration to mark the 60 years of the second Elizabethan era.
Setting aside politics for a minute, I think we need to celebrate the Queen if only for the length of time she has served.
She is at an age where she should be able to sit back and rest.
Not that she is showing much sign of flagging. I am sure her wealth and privilege have helped ward off the signs of ageing but it is also probably largely due to the fact that her job forces her to stay active.
I watched the armed forces tribute to the Queen. She had to stand straight while hundreds of servicemen marched passed her. By the way, the Duke of Edinburgh had to salute throughout which must have been even harder.
At one stage the Queen had to walk up some steps. There was no handrail until she was nearly at the top.
She is 86 years old and yet walked up those stairs unaided.
We should celebrate her because she is still head of her family firm 60 years on. Not only that, but we should celebrate the way she has guided it through some extraordinarily rough times.
The fact that most of those difficulties have been the result of the behaviour of her own children must have caused her huge heartache.
As the world around her has changed, she has kept up in many ways. She uses computers, mobile phones and the latest technology, but she is also the shining symbol in this country of the values we used to have.
She has never divorced – and would never have even if she’d wanted to. She has never had affairs or indulged in any shady business. She has never used or abused her position.
Others around her may have occasionally put their feet in their mouths but she has continued, since she was a young girl, to put one foot in front of another and walk a straight line despite the hurricanes blowing around her.
She deserves to be celebrated for this.
What about the whole business of royalty, though?
I have always liked having a royal family but have never had any strong feelings about the subject.
Having said that, I did write to the Queen when I was about 13. Northern Rhodesia, where I lived, was about to become independent, and I think I wrote to her out of worry. I felt that she might think we were all turning our backs on her by becoming Zambia.
I thanked her politely for being our queen and offered to remain a loyal subject. I got a lovely letter back from a lady-in-waiting which seemed to indicate that the Queen was vastly relieved that I hadn’t forsaken her!
It is only since I returned to this county a decade ago that I realised I am a true royalist through and through.
I arrived shortly before the Queen’s golden anniversary. I travelled around small villages whose names I could neither pronounce nor spell and felt that I had stepped back in time. Garden parties, street parties, bunting, flags and sing-songs were all reminiscent of the England I thought only existed inside a film studio.
I was surprised at the outpouring of genuine affection that people had for Queen Elizabeth.
We arrived here in the wake of the foot and mouth epidemic. I went to Cockermouth looking for some stories and popped into a pub.
I was asking people what was going on and they began talking about the tragedy of the epidemic which directly affected so many farmers and indirectly so many businesses.
They told me, unanimously, that their hero was Prince Charles who had visited to get the message out that Cumbria was still open for business.
The alternative to royalty is a republic – and we tried that with Oliver Cromwell, with unappetising results.
An item on the TV news recently suggested that the Queen and royalty were simply an inexplicable part of Britain's DNA.
More to the point, she is not only Queen of England or the UK. She is still queen of all those Commonwealth countries.
I know that means little on a day-to-day basis, but when you see how the Royal Family is received in those countries and how the Queen can actually bring those nations together, you have to wonder how becoming a republic could be any better.
The only other person I can think of who can bring together so many different people is the Pope.
We are certainly lucky to have our Queen. I am going to be celebrating her reign this weekend.
I’m a royalist!
First published at 19:22, Thursday, 31 May 2012
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk
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