Saturday, June 2, 2012

Celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

Ever since the age of 12 I've considered myself an Anglophile; that is one who is fond of English culture or, more broadly, British culture. It was these formative years of childhood when a family holiday in Britain firmly established my fascination with all things British. Our travels in that first holiday took us through England and Scotland, where I decided it was a place I belonged. It wasn't much of a surprise to my family when some 5 years later I chose to attend University in England. That pretty much charted the course of many interests for years to come. Friendships were established--many of which I cherish even today, some twenty-six years later. 

Along with all that came my interest and affection for the British Monarchy; its history, traditions, as well as the pomp and circumstance. My studies at Brunel University included a brief internship with the House of Commons where I learned Parliamentary Procedure first hand, among other fascinating traditions of the House of Lords as well. After spending all that time connected to these great British institutions I learned to appreciate their society, including the role of the Monarch in a modern democratic society.
Admittedly my fervor for the Royal Family is a bit over-the-top at times, but it has been a result of personal experiences, through close friendships with Brit friends whose deep admiration for the Queen undoubtedly influenced my views and shaped my opinions. I've also had the pleasure of numerous "sitings" of various royals. In particular I remember being within 4 feet of the Queen back in 1987 when she was in a procession into Westminster Abbey. I shall never forget that day, or how I felt upon seeing her. That woman has presence like no one else.
On a recent trip to London I took the opportunity to shop for a few commemorative items for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Much has been written about her and her remarkable 60 year reign, second only to Queen Victoria. I won't even attempt to cover what has been nothing short of an amazingly reassuring and steadying presence on Britain, her Commonwealth nations and of course our closest ally in the world.
I enjoy collecting things like china, mugs, books, stamps, coins, tins and all sorts of stuff along those lines. From the Wedgewood Diamond Jubilee set, to this beautiful green and real gold English China plate, I truly enjoy having these items in my home. I hope my nieces one day have an appreciation for it all so it doesn't end up at some second hand shop years after I'm gone!
Even this Diamond Jubilee mug by Halcyon Days English China is something I can use for my morning cuppa, with fond memories of my many years in the United Kingdom and that for which HMQ represents. I'd hate to show you all the things I have, it is a little excessive to be honest. Over the years I've accumulated quite a collection, some items date back to King George VI.
Even this Jubilee biscuit tin from Marks and Spencer's in London was something of a treasure for me to acquire. It brings me great pleasure to have such things back here at home in the USA. They give me the sense of connection back to life in Britain and maintain the bonds that have bridged the Atlantic for two thirds of my life. And so this post is my own little way of honoring the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. When you look beyond the jewels and tiaras, she has actually contributed a great deal to modern western society, British Prime Ministers and US Presidents have written about their ability to consult with her knowing that she has the benefit of incredible perspective, no ulterior motives or political affiliations, and able to offer advice, wisdom and thought provoking questions but never to direct. She receives the "red boxes" of government briefings every day of the year, which she dutifully reads to remain updated. She has completed 30,000 official engagements in 60 years, and even at age 86 her diary shows she will compete over 450 official engagements this year. An anchor of consistency in an ever-changing world, she is a remarkable lady. God Save the Queen.

So how about a few photos of some other Diamond Jubilee stuff I saw whilst in London? OK here goes. Mind you, some of this is simply not my style but it is fun none-the-less...
Shop windows at the venerable Fortnum and Mason's
Union Jack flags across streets of London
Selfridge's Department Store Decorated for the Jubilee


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i used to have so many mugs like this, a cute collection, lots of silver jubilee and diana's wedding. i gave the whole thing away some years back though...

smiles, bee

grace said...

wonderful photos, thank you for sharing them.
I too love all things British. I grew up in London until the age of 12, so it feel like home to me.
Today, I am engrossed in the Queen's Jubilee celebration on BBC, it started at 5:30 this morning.

Diane J Standiford said...

I will never see London, but my British roots are showing. My father's family was English--hence my name, my partner's name is British, her father from Cornwall, and somewhere in my DNA must be something British because I am a sucker for the Royal family and all the pomp. What a beauty this queen. And William/Kate...ahhhh


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