I am old enough to remember King George V1 – but only just.
I was born on the day World War 2 ended in Europe. My parents seemed to like
King George who was with them through that war.
The Queen came to the throne when I was seven. My parents
liked her too and talked about how young she was and about Treetops and Kenya,
but I didn’t hear much more until our TV arrived the following spring, it was
in the front room of our big farmhouse.
We were not allowed into this best room, so we jumped up to
look through the huge bay window but all I saw was the small blank screen I had
no idea what it did. It was a 12” screen and the following week a magnifier
arrived on a big glass stand. On the day of the coronation the children sat on
the floor and gazed up at a black and white picture distorted by the magnifying
glass put directly in front.
We had to sit still and watch with our parents and
grandparents. If you went out of the room, we were warned that you would not be
allowed back in. We stayed as long as we could peering at the magnificent
(grey) coach and our new young queen.
I have only seen the Queen twice in her long reign. The
first time we were on our way to Orkney, and we were staying the night in Wick in
the far North of Scotland. We drove to check out the airport where we would be
flying from the next day. There was a great deal of security, we parked the car
and joined a small group of people. Suddenly, we saw a plane fly in, with a
Union Jack on its tail. There was a Jaguar car waiting on the tarmac with a
horse emblem on the bonnet.
The Queen came out of the plane (probably on her way to the
Castle of Mey). The few children waiting there had little posies. Escorted by
the guard they shyly went forward and presented them to the Queen. Even though
the flowers were windblown and unremarkable her smile of pleasure could not
have been more beautiful.
The second time I saw the Queen was when she gave Maundy
money at Hereford Cathedral. I wrote to the palace to see if I could join the
congregation. But I think it was full of more important people than me. I
received a kind letter suggesting that I could join the crowds outside, which I
did. The Queen still had that smile which she kept to the end of her life.
(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)