So that’s that then. The jubilee.
There’s a lot that could be said, but will have to remain unspoken. Besides, I notice this morning that Mark Steel has blogged most of what I’d planned to say – the bounder!
Will we ever see another? Jubilee, that is? Sixty years is a long time; Charles is unlikely to make it. And who knows what the Monarchy will be like in sixty years time or even if it will still be around at all.
I’d put my money on it surviving. Although I’m not the House of Windsor’s most loyal supporter, the office is what matters and I’m not sure that a grinning, waving superannuated ex-politician of a President could carry it off. Not for us. Because we see through all that nonsense, don’t we?
Well, I like to think we do. But then the last four days occur and I’m not too sure. The service at St Pauls – tick; the concert – tick; even the flotilla (I suppose, if I must) – tick. But all the screaming fans and endless ‘Oh, I think she’s marvellous’-ing from the masses. Come on folks, we’re British. We can do the pageantry. Because we know what that stands for.
But all that, what… emotion. Genuine? I can never be certain.
I’m sure the woman who wailed ‘Diana’ as the coffin made its first appearance that sad day over a decade ago was genuinely upset. But the torrent of crying and hang-wringing and weeping it seemed to provoke in some of the crowd was in marked contrast to the silent dignity of those who had reason to weep, but didn’t.
And I know there are those who will criticise that as buttoned-up, stuffed shirt, upper lip-stiffening. But I’m not so sure. Those Guardsmen standing tall and unmovable with Robbie Williams gurning under their noses; Her Majesty herself clearly moved but utterly composed at the reference to her absent husband. Those were the things I was celebrating; those are the things that make me feel British. And those are the things – if we have one at all – that I want a monarchy to represent for me.
And I like it done quietly, with dignity. Not with patronising ‘It’s a Knockabout’ attempts at being entertaining (thanks all the same, Edward darling). And I sometimes wonder how much longer that it will be.
The next sixty years will certainly tell. But until then, and maybe forever…