I get the impression that a large percentage of people my age are a little disillusioned with the monarchy.
In a straw poll during one lecture at university, we were asked to raise our hands if we cared about the monarchy. Out of a full lecture theater, only a handful of us were bothered.
Since then we’ve had a royal wedding which may have helped renewed interest in Britain’s most famous family, but overall my generation is cynical.
Sometimes it even takes foreigners to remind us of our own nation’s unique standing in the world. Today on The Mall, much of the front row were made up of Americans who had camped out just to catch a glimpse of her Majesty.
My mother is, other than the Queen herself, the biggest royalist in the world. To illustrate this point, while at home last night watching the royal concert on TV, my Mum stood to sing the national anthem…
Today was a first for all of our family as we went to London to catch a glimpse of the Royal family. But why bother? That question bugged me all morning, but especially when my alarm went off at 5.30am.
The answer had started the night before.
It wasn’t Cheryl’s shocking vocal performance, Grace Jones bizarre costume, those comedian’s terrible jokes, Cliff Richard’s embarrassing “Dad dancing” or Will.I.Am’s usual “it’s all about me” attitude that impressed me.
The beauty and magnificence of it all came later in the evening. Stevie Wonder’s unfortunate moment of singing; “Happy birthday to you” led to @Queen_UK tweeting “It’s not one’s Birthday. Awkward.” But Stevie rescued it magnificently when he changed the lyrics of “Isn’t She Lovely” in honour of the occasion.
“Isn’t she special/a young eighty-six years old/I can’t believe what God has done/let’s celebrate the royal one”
Madness performing “Our House” on top of Buckingham Palace was a special moment, as was Paul McCartney leading all of the artists and thousands of onlookers in a rousing rendition of Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da.
By the time the national anthem had been sung and Prince Charles had delivered the best speech of his life, I could almost see the earlier cynicism melting from my Twitter feed.
At the mention of the DofE’s health, her majesty looked close to tears. The outpouring of love towards the Queen was touching.
I’ve always supported the monarchy, but this weekend has gone a long way in cementing my belief that this country needs the Queen and to do away with the monarchy would be a travesty.
Those on the other side of the argument have made my beliefs even stronger. Peter Tachell’s disgusting and offensive opinion piece that The Guardian dared to print incensed nearly everyone who read it. Then there was the New Statesman‘s usual cynicism, but that was to be expected.
Tatchell managed to frustrate me further when he moaned “Media coverage of #DiamondJubilee one-sided in favour of #royals. Not everyone is pro #monarchy. Pro #republic voices should also be heard”. I couldn’t resist hitting back with: “Boo you! Party pooper”. Immature, but he deserved it!
The Queen has counseled 12 Prime Ministers. She’s met with everyone from Churchill to Cameron week in week out. In the often messy world of politics, she has remained a-political. A figurehead that brings millions to our country ever year, the Queen is well respected and rightly honoured throughout the world.
Open about her faith and clear about her responsibilities (all of which will continue until the day she dies), the Queen has remained steadfast in holding the country together through the toughest of times.
It’s not right to ask “what does the Queen do?”. This weekend has reminded us that our identity does not lie in what we do, but who we are. The Queen does a lot for this country. But who is she? The answer is obvious; she’s a living legend.