October 5, 2023

UK - Brilliant start, bad news

UK – Brilliant start, bad news

Before the nation thanked her for her many years of service with four days of festivities, Queen Elizabeth II in turn thanked the nation. “I would like to thank everyone who took part in bringing their communities, families, neighbors and friends together to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, here in the UK and Commonwealth,” she said. In a short televised address, the Queen explained that the good wishes and goodwill of the citizens remain a constant source of inspiration for her. That is why she hopes that “the next few days will give us an opportunity to remember all that has been achieved in the past seventy years – and to face the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”

260 years of tradition

In any case, there was no denying the enthusiasm of the thousands who had gathered in front of Buckingham Palace and on Mall Street, which was closed to traffic, and who had also slept outdoors in many places since the start of a week in order to be on top. An enthusiastic cheer and flag-waving glee greeted the start of the 96-year-old’s centenary celebrations on Thursday. Not only from all over Great Britain, from all over the world royals arrived this week. Even the sun was playing the whole time – although the weekend street parties are again somewhat mixed, unpredictable English weather is being announced.

In any case, the party-goers were clearly aware of the historical event they were attending. Never before in the United Kingdom had a crowned president been “in office” for seventy years so popular and so popular. You will never see and celebrate a popular festival like this again in Great Britain. Everyone knows that. That drove many to the mall from the start. There was a tone of collective melancholy to the festivities, a sense of not being able to hold back.

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The festivities began with Trouping the Color, the annual military parade between Parliament and the Palace, in the Horse Guards Parade – a tradition that itself dates back 260 years. Having suffered from increasing “mobility problems” in recent months, the Queen, as the nominal commander of the armed forces, apologized for the first time in her life. She ceded control of the show, on horseback, to her eldest son, Prince Charles, the heir apparent, and to Princess Anne and Prince William.

Other family members, including Kate and the Duchess of Cambridge and Kate and William’s children, George, Charlotte and Louis, appear to be enjoying the carriage ride from Buckingham Palace to the Paradeground. The three youngsters politely bowed their heads as the national anthem was played. Mini Windsor was probably used in all the bearskin hats and the ceremonial red and gold uniforms in which 1,500 soldiers performed their maneuvers in the pits. They may have known personally Seamus, the wolf who is the talisman of the Irish Guard.

Drums and horns

Drums, trumpets, sharp orders, and thousands of hooves characterize the festive scene, as they always do on this show. Hardly anyone in the world can present such a colorful spectacle, so perfect, as the British monarchy. Prince Charles seemed to start to sweat towards the end. But at least you did not see a very hot soldier fall off his boots on this occasion. However, family members who were already involved in wars – Prince Andrew and Prince Harry – were not on the military scene. One was deployed in the Falkland Islands and the other in Iraq.

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Andrew has become somewhat of a non-person on the public stage lately. Harry was forced to retire from the circle of “active royals” when he moved to America two years ago. So he and his wife Meghan were not allowed to pose with the Queen for the big family photo shoot yesterday, on Buckingham Palace’s red-velvet balcony.

Both – who still hold the titles of Duke and Duchess of Sussex – were invited to the show as VIPs, as guests of eminent ranks. In fact, many Britons had been eagerly awaiting the couple’s first public appearance in the UK in two years after the arrival of the “renegade royals” with their children Archie and Lilipet the night before. But the BBC and commercial stations were under strict orders to focus on the official ceremonies.

Unresolved disputes

Under no circumstances was this the mantra in London, if “the excitement of Harry and Meghan” overshadowed these festivities. The Queen wanted to experience “no drama” on her jubilee days, this was made clear in court. The quarrel between Harry and the rest of the family at an early age was still fresh in my memory, as were the bad words spoken and the fatal loss of confidence. Despite these unresolved disagreements, the head of the “company” left no doubt about her desire to return unity to the family, even if only for the foreseeable future. Even when the Queen relieved Harry of his “royal role” two years ago, the Queen assured that he and Meghan “will always be two very beloved members” of their family.

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Inspires “Red Arrows”

First of all, it was clear that this week’s festivities should revolve around the Queen – and those closest to her in the inner circle. Elizabeth II seemed to have had much to talk about with young Louis at the appearance of the family on the balcony, while more and more people flocked to the mall until there was no free space between the palace gates and Trafalgar Square.

The old lady was still smiling when a squadron of 70 planes descended high above the heads of the people in the mall and the huge Union Jack banners on both sides of the street paraded over the palace in majestic formations. The “Red Arrows”, who sprayed the national colors into the sky on such occasions, as the last of the line, aroused great enthusiasm as usual.

There is no thanksgiving with the Queen

Then bad news crossed the newsreel on Thursday night: Elizabeth II would not attend Thanksgiving Mass in her honor on Friday. Buckingham Palace said it had “felt some discomfort” during the festivities and would miss the ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral “with great reluctance”.