Raising a Glass: 60 Years

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In some ways the Queen’s Diamond’s Jubilee and the jubilant celebrations that have accompanied it, have for me arrived from nowhere. I wasn't excited, I didn't climb on the rooftops and sing God Save Our Queen, and I didn't feel the need to dress up in all things red, white and blue in an effort to show my appreciation for our dear Liz. I refused to join the multitude of people that held small street parties, or picnics in the park, and no flags of Great Britain flew from the windows of my home. I know, I can hear you now as you protest at my apparent antipatriotic attitudes and scoff in outrage at my obviously boring nature, but bear with me a moment.

Without fail, it seems that every person that I have talked to during these celebrations has either been in one of two camps. Either they break out in smiles and say: ‘I support the Queen wholeheartedly and will now rush to join the throng on the banks of the River Thames to enjoy the pageant – jolly good!’ or they start to mutter and grumble about how they do not really care about the event and will be sat in a dark room with their curtains shut in an effort to avoid it. My question is this: is it really necessary to be in one or the other? Can we not recognise the fantastic achievements of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II without needing to put the bunting up outside our homes, line the streets, or settle down with our fancy tea sets?

As Shakespeare says in Henry IV, ‘Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown’, and it must be said that our wonderful Lizzie has certainly reigned successfully despite the many challenges and responsibilities that she has had to face. An integral part of transforming the old British Empire into the new Commonwealth of Nations, our Queen is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states – from as far as Papua New Guinea to the Solomon Islands. Perhaps more importantly though, as has been apparent through the celebrations this past weekend, she is loved and respected by people all across the world, and is genuinely recognised as a good and wise ruler.

So, it may have been that I sat inside, hidden away from those that cheered, sang and drank in the name of our great Queen. I pretended to myself that it was just an ordinary day, but alas there was no escape. As I peered outside to see the flags waving, trudged downstairs and saw the thousands of people outside for the Queen’s Jubilee Concert, collected a glass of champagne from the kitchen, I knew that this was just a culmination of an infection that had been threatening to take me from the start.

So my answer is this: it is impossible to celebrate an event like this by taking a step back and seeing the Queen and her achievements aside from the celebrations. This is because the parties thrown up and down the country are the indication of what our beloved Liz has achieved: devotion from many citizens across the world. Our country’s attitude towards events like this is simply contagious; the craziness and wild celebrations are enough to break anyone’s uncaring attitudes, and that’s exactly what happened. We should embrace the spirit that sweeps the nation at a time like this, and raise a glass to the Queen Elizabeth II and the many more wonderful years she has left to come.

Ben Johnson

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." - Ernest Hemingway.

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