"QUEEN ELIZABETH'S HIGHWAY TO GLORY"
The four-day-long celebration of the Queen’s 60 years as England’s ruling monarch was an experience that is impossible to forget.
On a visit to London during the Queen’s jubilee celebration last month, I realised how popular the royal family is in the city. The entire London took part in the extended weekend celebrations. If this was not enough, there were celebratory activities in the Commonwealth countries as well. After Princess Diana’s death, the popularity of the Queen and Prince Charles had gone down. Now that Prince William and Prince Harry have grown up, the public is back to admiring them.
Though the weather Gods were not very supportive during the festivities, it didn’t put a damper on anybody’s spirits. As the Queen with her family took part in the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant, it filled the Britishers with pride as the the entire royal family stood for four hours and watched a thousand ships take part in the pageant. One could see the Queen on the barge watching the Dragon boats. Nearly a million rain soaked people waved, laughed and cried as they witnessed history being made. This is only second time that British royalty is celebrating a Diamond Jubilee. The Queen dressed in a cream hat and coat with Swarovskis looked stunning.
What was interesting was how the tourists, shivering in the cold, got into the spirit of celebrating. For them, it was clearly a powerful sense of continuity with the past. The celebrations were undoubtedly a show of unity. And though there were millions of people on the streets there was no chaos or confusion. There were long queues to not just watch the events but also see the royalty. It was fantastic to see the 91-year-old Prince Philip stand tall through every ceremony except the last day when news of his ill health put a dampener. However, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry and the extended royal family solidly stood by the Queen.
When the news that Prince Philip was admitted in the hospital spread, the people were shocked. Many people shed a tear or two when they saw a sad looking Queen Elizabeth II arrive alone. Though the entire event was star-studded, it was the Queen’s gold lamè dress that stole the show. The Buckingham Palace proved to be the best backdrop for the events. Prince Charles’ speech in which he paid a personal tribute to his ‘mummy’ touched many hearts. He thanked the nation for making them proud to be British. The speech was warm, witty and full of praise for the Queen.
The entire festivities filled me with admiration for the people of the country. The best part was that everything ran like clockwork. Any chaos was dealt with speed. Cops sprung into action at the slightest of commotion. I don’t know whether this was in preparation for the Olympic Games or the celebrations but everything ran smoothly. No one was harnessed. There were no traffic jams too. Though the malls were full of people, the service was excellent as usual. There was street food as well. Traditional cupcakes and the British flags were on display everywhere. Lots of preparations must have been done in advance to avoid glitches.
India, too, needs to learn how to run things smoothly.