Proud To Be British!
Royal Visit Starts Today
|By Leo Olivero
Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex arrive in Gibraltar at midday today as part of the Royal tour to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, but more about the royal visit later.
Looking back to last week and why this royal visit to Gibraltar came about and who in fact made the diamond jubilee possible is all down to one person
Well the story starts in 1947, five years before she acceded to the throne, when Queen Elizabeth II said: “I declare before you that my whole life, be it long or short, shall be devoted to your service”. At her coronation in 1952, she pledged that “throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust” and at the start of this year she promised to “dedicate myself anew to your service”.
And last week 60 years down the Royal Road Great Britain like Gibraltar and together with all other commonwealth countries around the world celebrated the Queen’s diamond jubilee, marking 60 years of unflinching service to her country and dominions. This has been the hallmark of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, an understated but unwavering devotion to duty, coupled with a sense of responsibility and iron self-discipline.
Selflessness and Dedication
The Queens’s selflessness and dedication to the British people and the people of the Commonwealth, of which Gibraltar forms part, has been outstanding. Even though here on the rock we would have liked to have seen much more of her, particularly over the years of spanish political aggression ever present, even today.
Of course Gibraltar would have dearly loved Her Majesty’s to have honoured us with another Royal Visit, after her last in 1954. But this in Gibraltar’s case was not to be. This mainly I suspect because the Queen’s travels abroad are very much controlled by her diplomatic travel agency at Westminster who gauge the political weather and ensuing diplomatic environment before booking the queens excursions around the world. But like the weather forecasts, it’s not always accurate!
The Queen’s role as Mother of the Nation(s) was central to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations that finally concluded last Tuesday with her hallmark royal wave from the central balcony of Buckingham Palace. At the end of four days doing the very visible part of Her Majesty thing, the Queen’s tread may have been a bit heavier as she crossed the threshold of her London home, her movements slowed down a tad, but the lady is 86 years old after all and undoubtedly must have been tired, I know I would have been. Just trying to keep up with her over the breadth of the wet and chilly long bank holiday weekend with all the non-stop appearances from Royal Derby to the Thames Flotilla Pageant, the evening Pop Concert and the following morning off to a Thanksgiving Church Service, it all must have been exhausting!
The Queen is living history, the New Elizabethan Age stretching back six decades to a time when the entire world was a very different place, this future unimaginable even to science fiction writers. And, of course, the Queen’s direct ancestry extends through a thousand years of crowned heads. In our culture of instant and disposable celebrities, that kind of rooted status cannot matched!
Through no fault of its current occupant, the monarchy has been severely damaged in the last 15 years as a phenomenon of constancy, mystique and magic. Who could have envisioned, just a decade ago, that the ex Camilla Parker Bowles would one day be sitting in the royal landau (carriage) for the Jubilee procession along the Mall as Duchess of Cornwall and consort to Charles, a future king Maybe? But I think what we see today is down to the Queen and Prince William’s and other Young Royals potential, that the monarchy has experienced a reincarnation and cultural reformation since the multiple disasters of the ’90s and why 80 per cent of the United Kingdom population is still pro royal.
Hallmark of a Super Queen! The Queen demonstrated her renowned sturdiness last week through four days of taxing celebrations, a Super Queen, that culminated with Tuesday’s procession in an open-top carriage, the cortege winding its way past a throng of an estimated 1.5 million well-wishers who lined the Mall from the Palace gates to Admiralty Arch. The Queen was beaming, clearly touched and enjoying the outpouring of affection.
The rain that plagued the entire weekend held off until precisely the moment of the balcony appearance, though the RAF fly-past always a perennial crowd pleaser that had been aborted because of foul weather during Sunday’s flotilla pageant on the Thames — proceeded as scheduled, with a gusto Hip-Hip-Hooray from the massive crowd.
Our Queen is also Defender of the Faith, head of church as well as head of state, England and many others including Gibraltar of course. Her husband of 65 years, the Duke of Edinburgh, remained in hospital with bladder infection, so the Queen had to continue alone without her other half beside her and with two days of the Jubilee to go. “I wish Philip were here,” she said on the balcony, according to one professional lip-reader.
I do not understand the behaviour of those anti-monarchists who apparently begrudged the Queen the fantastic Jubilee spectacle, whether because of the 10 million pounds cost to stage the events, although most of it was raised through private funding, compared to the 11 billion pounds it will cost to host the London Olympics, or was it simple dislike for what the Crown represents…who knows, one thing is for sure the queen is truly the ‘Hallmark of being Britain!
From Gibraltar one can be simultaneously be proud to be British Gibraltarian and appreciative of our bonds to the monarchy which will be further strengthen when Prince Edward and his Good Lady arrives later on today as part of his mother’s celebrations.
Being Proud of Being British Is More Than the Just a Jubilee! At 86 years of age - twice a great-grandmother and in a family where the women are known for their longevity – Queen Elizabeth has obviously slowed down a bit but remains in apparent robust health. If the Queen lives four more years she will break a record that once looked to be unassailable. She will surpass her great-great grandmother, Victoria, as Britain's longest-reigning sovereign.
But over the years like most of us have experienced life has also changed for the queen, she even has a mobile phone now a days, extraordinary really, if you think that sixty years ago it took nearly 24 hours for news to reach her in Kenya that her father, King George VI, had died in London and that she and her husband must immediately break off their planned tour to Australia and New Zealand to attend the funeral and be crowned Queen.
Personally I believe the Jubilee is not the only event or thing which should make us feel proud to be British. Because being proud to be British should be in every Gibraltarian from the day you are born till the day you die, it’s also from a Gibraltar perspective what our parents, grandparents and forefathers fought for and taught us. It is also what thousands gave there lives for and are still doing today.
Any Royal Visit is a Historical One. Prince Edwards Visit to Gibraltar is For a Special and Historical Royal Occasion Most of Us Will Not Witness Again!