Anchors Away! Despite the less than pleasant conditions, the Diamond Jubilee river pageant hit the Thames, breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of boats with 1,000 vessels participating. After watching a combined four hours of coverage, there is an abundance to write about – this post would never end if I attempted to cover it all. I am choosing to stick to what today was truly all about – Queen Elizabeth II, her sixty years on the throne and the pomp and pageantry that makes her nation so great.
Wearing a “diamond white” creation by Angela Kelly, Her Majesty was the definition of sparkle, bringing a burst of sunshine into an otherwise dreary day. Dressed in diamonds for her Diamond Jubilee? C’mon, The Queen is too fabulous for words! Have you ever seen such a genuinely bright smile last for hours on end? The Queen and her husband The Duke of Edinburgh made the 15-mile journey down the famed London waterway on the Spirit of Chartwell alongside their eldest son, Prince Charles, his wife, The Duchess of Cornwall and their grandchildren The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. All impeccably dressed, the weather did not seem to damped their spirits or their outfits – do the royal women ever not look elegant? If I spent an hour and a half on the water in the freezing ran I would look like a drowned rat. Yes, Catherine looked stunning in a red McQueen frock and the royal fellas looked dashing in their dress uniforms, but this day was about Her Majesty – everything else is just background details. I know, it’s a shock I’m not saying more than two words about Harry! Okay fine..he looked stunning in his No. 1 ceremonial dress of the Blues and Royals. What’s even more impressive? The royal couple of the hour – with a combined 177 years between them – did not sit on their glorious thrones once during the entire flotilla. Talk about impressive..
I think it also important to recognize Prince Philip during this auspicious occasion. In the months, weeks and days leading up to this jubilant weekend, other members of the firm have made it known that Her Majesty would be quite lost without her other half. She may have reigned supreme for the past sixty years, but let’s not forget the man who has stood beside her every step of the way. Also, he just happens to be the most adorable almost 91-year-old on the planet. What I would have done to have him miked up on that barge – I’m sure there were some classic comments coming from him.
As a through and through Anglophile, people ask me all the time – what is so special about the royal family? Why do you care so much? You’re not from England, she’s not your queen and they’re stuffy and outdated. Well, to all of you I say..today you got your answer. I don’t care if you’re a dedicated royal watcher, fan of Catherine’s fashion or average American who doesn’t give two hoots about The British Monarchy – no one does pomp and pageantry like the British. Throughout the UK today, 10,000 celebratory street parties were held – can you think of one person in America that 10,000 street parties would burst out for? I certainly cannot. Never will we have a President who looks after our country for sixty years. Queen Elizabeth II and The British Monarchy as a whole are one of the most long-standing, strongest traditions in the world. Say what you want about them, but they are something to be proud of, something to hold a nation together when the going gets tough, something that has been by the people’s sides through wars, weddings and tragic deaths. What can I say? I’m a sucker for tradition.
Today, the royal family completely and totally embodied the phrase “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Today, two people in their 80′s and 90′s spend two hours on their feet, in cold temperatures and downpours, waving their arms off and smiling true and genuine smiles of happiness. Today, the world got a glimpse of a family who would do just about anything to make their nation proud. No matter what your political affiliation, the majority of the British people absolutely adore The Queen. In fact, she has an 82% likability rating – how often does that happen with an American politician?
Call me old fashioned, call the royal family uptight and out of touch – but if you were watching today and not the least bit in awe of the show they put on, well..I honestly don’t know what to say! The ceremonial raising of the Tower Bridge, the crowds lining the streets, the fireworks and the London Philharmonic and Royal College of Music Chamber Choir playing and singing their hearts out while getting utterly soaked was a unique sight to behold.
If you did not catch the finale of the pageant, I highly recommend you watch The BBC’s video of it here. It will give you goosebumps and most likely get you beyond excited for the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics.
God Save the Queen.