Thursday, 01 June 2023
Englishman in Dubrovnik Englishman in Dubrovnik

Now that was a celebration - God Save the Queen!

Written by  Jun 12, 2022

“I only wish I had thought about it earlier. If I had opened a company seeing flags I’d have made a bomb,” joked a friend of mine in London.

Yes, my fellow compatriots will all have headaches and hangovers this week, but broad smiles, after a long weekend of celebrating the Queen’s 70th Platinum Anniversary. And what a celebration it was! With more flags than I have ever seen in my life.

The big concert, although there were several, was watched by around 13 million on the BBC, that was around 75 percent of the people watching TV that day, amazing figures. And what an incredible concert that brought the hairs up on the back of my neck.

And in the crowds live at the big concert were 5,000 front line, key workers, such as nurses, doctors, police men and women and firefighters, who were given free tickets to attend. That’s a nice touch.

Just to highlight how popular the Queen is in the UK a survey carried out a month before the celebrations showed a 92 percent approval rating for the Queen. Those are figures that can’t be matched by any world leader. The four-day event gave an immeasurable boost to the nation, which could probably only be beaten by England winning the World Cup, and there’s not much chance of that happening. Although she did present the World Cup to the winning England team in 1966, so just maybe she’ll give them some luck for this year’s championship.

From February 1952, at the tender age of 25, she has been on the throne. Just seven years after World War 2 ended. And yes, her first prime Minister was indeed Sir Winston Churchill. That makes her the longest serving British monarch.

In that time 14 Prime Ministers and 14 US Presidents have come and gone. She has been at the helm of a nation for almost as long as NATO and the UN have been around and much, much longer than the EU. And this longevity has bred stability.

From being the first female member of the royal family to join the army, and yes she both drove and maintained vehicles at the end of the war, to visiting over a 100 countries, including Croatia and Dubrovnik in 1972, and of course she walked down Stradun.

If you were wondering how much all these lavish celebrations cost the answer is £28 million, which is the grand scheme of things is really next to nothing. The Times reported that the figure of £28 million was enough to “run the National Health Service for about two hours.” And just to get some perspective the additional public holiday is estimated to have cost the county around £2.4 billion.

Street parties, sporting events, church services and parades were all held in honour of the Queen over the long weekend.

On a personal level I unfortunately have never met the Queen, although I have been fortunate enough to meet several members of the royal family. I do however, have something in my home that was touched by her. One of the proudest moments in my life was when I was made Honorary Consul for Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Dubrovnik. And to actually officially take up this position I have a document (a very large parchment) actually signed by Her Majesty. And it is obviously one of my most prized possessions.

And it has been the human stories coming out of all the celebrations that have been so touching. The Queen has sent over 300,000 congratulatory cards to people celebrating their 100th birthdays, and over 900,000 messages to couples marking their Diamond (60th) Wedding Anniversaries. It has been a monumental weekend for the Brits. A weekend that made my mother cry on numerous occasions.

And I’ll leave the final words to Her Majesty, "I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm." God save the Queen!   

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