Source: The Daily Mail
Who else is glad that the Jubilee celebrations are done with?
Although I've had no hand in any of it, didn't go to any street parties, saw no beacons being lit and didn't get soaked standing around in the rain for hours, I sat in front of the TV, oddly mesmerised by the whole spectacle, unable to get up and switch off. Let me say that I admire the Queen for her endurance, stoicism, stamina and well-bred patience, and her acceptance, with impeccable grace, of posturing and obsequious nonentities. I saw her crack a genuine smile just a few times, mainly when she was speaking to family or those of her entourage she knew well, she also had a benevolent eye for the young who were singing and playing for her and she truly came alive on the balcony, during the fly-past. Otherwise she looked what she is, an old lady got up for the occasion, standing her ground and doing what she does well, waving a languid, white-gloved hand at the adoring, shrieking crowds.
The pageant itself was quite a spectacle, but it could have done without the inane comments by the BBC commentators. I know they have to fill their two minute slots over and over, but I lost count of the number of times they mentioned the weather, each time emphasising, that being British inures one to the drenching rain and 'no British spirit can be dampened by it', then turning round to the poor miserable crowd behind them and asking them to show their enthusiasm, which they duly did, instantly waving their little banners and screaming. I loved the boats, all valiantly sailing up the river in the pouring rain, the man-powered ones deserving our special appreciation, but the BBC coverage of the event was truly tedious. I like a bit of gravitas and dignity on these occasions, but most of the commentators were minor celebs and newscasters who didn't have a clue what they were talking about. Some even made bad mistakes, which showed they had done little in the way of preparation.
The concert was a bit of a let-down too. It's not only the Queen who has aged over the past sixty years; we had the Sirs, Cliff Richard, the skeletal would be Peter Pan, the utterly grotesque Elton John - looking more like a queen than the Queen, and Paul McCartney, croaking and squeezing out his notes, rarely hitting the one he was aiming for. The only one of the older bunch who still has it is Tom Jones, but then he actually started out with a powerful voice, whereas the others were always lightweight singers. All of the performers, old and current, with the possible exception of the military bands, were put in the shade by the special effects, which were truly amazing. The front of Buckingham Palace became a magnificent screen for displays of colour, light and shade, endlessly shape-shifting, abstract and realistic in turn. My bottom was turning numb, but I sat through it.
A bit of dignity was restored by the thanks-giving service in St Paul's Cathedral and the drive back, in coaches resplendent in gold, to Buckingham Palace, after an intimate lunch for seven hundred at Westminster Hall today. The Royal Family was much reduced, only the Queen, and those immediately next in line, Charles, William and Harry, and their spouses appeared on the balcony. I wonder if that's something to do with protocol or if all the other family members, who had graced the event with their presence, had gone back to their respective homes.
After three days of pomp and circumstance, endless renderings of Rule Britannia, Land of Hope and Glory and God Save The Queen, this lot of Panem et Circences is over; Royalist or Republican, the Queen deserves our respect for staying the course, not only during these three days but for the sixty years leading up to the beanfeast. I cannot see her job other than mind-numbingly boring and spirit- sapping. I hope she gets a chance to kick off her shoes, loosen her corsets and take those pearls off. I hope Prince Philip makes it and that they can soon sit back together on the sofa with a nice cup of tea and look at the photos. Perhaps she'll say: "you had to be there."