whim: an odd or capricious notion or desire; a sudden or freakish fancy

Monday, June 11, 2012

about the queen and other things

 Question: Who in the world would stand outside in the drizzling rain and freezing cold for hours on end to see the Queen of England float by on a big boat? First of all, me, that's who, along with thousands and THOUSANDS of British people braving the weather to celebrate their Queen. The Queen's Diamond Jubilee was quite the affair, so naturally a 1,000-boat flotilla was necessary. My friends and I arrived hours early, and still were barely able to see for the crowds of delighted drunk people waving the Union Jack as they awaited Her Majesty. Smiles and drinks were passed around freely as the crowd cheered, and momentarily everyone forgot how cold and rainy it was when the royal family passed by (emphasis on momentarily, though).

This is one of the only clear shots I got during the flotilla. I had to elbow a few nice old ladies out of the way and step on some toes, but all in the name of a good photo, right? (I think I must have gotten a drop of water or something on my camera lens, as you can tell from the dot in the middle of the picture. Or maybe it was just an overenthusiastic grey cloud.) Anyway, I have to say that I'm glad I went to the flotilla because I can check that off my list of "things to do once and never again." It was neat to see all the boats and neat to see how much the British really love Queen Elizabeth.

 This was the grand boat of the royal family, and if you squint really hard you can see the Queen (she's the cream-colored dot on top). (Oh, and don't mind the grey-haired ponytail man. He's in several of my pictures.) At this point in the flotilla, I had been standing for several hours in the cold, and I thought, "this is really what I came here to see? A cream-colored dot on top a red boat?" It was a bit of a disillusioning moment, but I'm sure it was due to the weather more than it was to the view.

But on to my favorite part of the Diamond Jubilee celebration: a tea party hosted by my ward's Relief Society. We drank cinnamon apple tea and ate delicious treats like scones, tarts, little cakes and sandwiches. We sang all five verses of God Save the Queen (I didn't know there were five. It's a long one!) The British sisters sang the national anthem, and two older ladies who remembered the coronation told us about the grand event. Actually, one old lady stood up and recited the history of the kings and queens of England (an abridged version––took about 15 minutes), ending with the coronation of Elizabeth II, where she went into great detail about the ceremony. It was quite impressive (her memory, that is).

To top it all off, we took a quiz about Her Royal Majesty, which I promptly failed. But I wrote down the answers, so for your pleasure, here's a list of facts you will never need to know about Queen Elizabeth:

  1. She acceded to the throne in February of 1952
  2. She was in Kenya when she heard about her father's death (the King)
  3. She was thirteen when she first met the Duke of Edinburgh (Phillip), who was later to be her husband
  4. She and Phillip have been married 64 years
  5. His nickname for her is "cabbage"
  6. The Queen's official birthday is in June, but her real birthday is in April
  7. Her first corgi's name was Susan
  8. Willow, Holly, and Monty are the names of the Queen's current corgis
  9. Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister when she was coronated
  10. She wore Victoria's diamond necklace for her coronation
  11. She has nine thrones
  12. She's the fortieth monarch since William the Conquerer
  13. She wears black while visiting the Vatican
  14. She wears the Diamond Diadem to and from the State Opening of Parliament
  15. She has her ears pierced
  16. She wears blue more than any other color
  17. She has eight grandchildren
  18. She's 5'4"
  19. She has never worn jeans (crazy, right??)
  20. She doesn't carry any form of personal identification