The Queen

 



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)


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