Lucy Jensen

God save the … you know how it goes, everyone does! We used to sing it before school assembly when I was a nipper. Long live the Queen. Well, isn’t she doing well! And here we have 70 years on the throne. Oh, my goodness! I think I would have put my feet up with my corgis decades ago and let them get on with it. But she really is an astonishing woman and so dedicated to her country.

Though she is much of a figure head these days, she still plays a very important part in “leading” the country, whether it be as a worldwide ambassador of sorts to the world at large, bringing in who knows how many dollars for the tourism industry, or as a peace-builder within her own very interesting family that boasts the most incredible and undeniable history.

When I lived in England, I cannot say that I was much of a fan of the Royal Family. I would watch them jetting off on their skiing holidays, or playing polo, as I made my way on the London tube to my job that paid 8 pounds and 50 pence an hour, knowing that much of my quite sizeable income tax would be going toward the “Royal List,” as it used to be known, and that was quite an extensive list.

Nowadays the list has been considerably cut back and I live over here, so frankly I couldn’t care less, except I do keep an eye on them over there and what’s going on. Looking at the royals who do continue to work their part, they certainly earn their money in their devotion to the crown, appearances at events and charities, obligatory travel abroad.

And their lack of privacy is cruel. We won’t even get started about Princess Diana and what happened there. Frankly you can’t blame Harry for getting out of the rat race and living a more “civilized” life as a minor celebrity over here.

In 1977, I was living in England at the time of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and what a Jubilee it was. You do have to hand it to the Brits. They really understand the whole pomp and circumstance equation and they perform it with near effortless class. There was Union Jack bunting everywhere. Days off were granted and street parties planned.

Our town closed down the whole High Street for our party. There are some marvelous photos still in existence of all the delicious cakes and sandwiches that were devoured by the children of the town. My friend and I were some of the last left sitting at the table and we enjoyed every last bite.

And now it is Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee and she’s still tapping her foot and playing with her corgis. Word is she still rides her horses, though it does look as if she doesn’t move quite as well as she used to, and her engagements have lessened. She’s 96 for crying out loud. But, my goodness, I have enjoyed watching the celebrations over there.

The Mall that leads up to Buckingham Palace was a sea of flags and people, the atmosphere electric, I am sure, and happiness reigned throughout that small island. Certainly, the security contingent for such days would have to be tiptop, and I can only imagine what was going on behind the scenes. I almost wanted to be there.

The celebrated English band Queen opened the celebrations in front of the palace with “We Will Rock You.” (I’m sure many older Brits would be asking themselves what actually does that mean and who is this Queen pop band with its androgynous lead singer that has the privilege of opening these celebrations.)

But there were many in the crowd who were so happy to be there and witness history in the making. Prince William and his family certainly knew the band and were enjoying the music and maybe he will be next on the throne in any case. I do think Charlie Boy deserves a shake at the old throne though, if only for a token period of time. He has worked hard for the country throughout his life and really taken quite a consistent public slapping from his marriage to Diana onwards, but I digress.

Friends of mine were having street parties, entire neighborhoods closing down for strawberries and cream, Victorian sponges and gin tea cakes to celebrate their queen. Everyone was joyously waving flags, dressing up their doggies and feeling really happy. What a concept!

I love this happy thing — I find it so refreshing in this world of continuous bad news and crippling suffering. Thank goodness for periods of insane bunting and joy and “We Will Rock You” blaring out across the world (whatever that means). Before we know it, the world will be back to who killed who and who is to blame, and I’m not a fan of that world.

For my part, I am going to be all Brit this month and watch the entire rocking opening of the Queen’s Celebration more than once (don’t even think about skipping her piece with Paddington Bear — it is to die for. Never forget to take along your marmalade sandwich, even if it must go in your handbag!)

And yes, thank you, Queen, for all the years. Thank you for sticking by your country and staying the course with the very difficult job you inherited, scandals and all. Your people obviously love and appreciate you.

I do hope though you will take time now to ponder your long reign and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. Take out one of those glorious black ponies and sit a while on the sofa with your corgis and your grandchildren. Time to smell the roses, as it were. Let your oldest do some of the work he’s been groomed for and take the time to look at all you have accomplished.

It’s time, Your Majesty. Past time. As Paddington Bear so eloquently stated in your delightful skit together: “Thank you, Your Majesty, for everything.”

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Soledad columnist Lucy Jensen may be reached at [email protected].


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