Our Platinum Jubilee Nightmare!
Disappointing. That is how I have felt for most of today, 2nd June 2022.
Back in 2021, as Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee came onto the horizon, I was determined to get into the mall and see Her Majesty on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as I’d seen many times over the years during great British festivals and events. So, five weeks ago, I booked a night in Pimlico near where I’m working on getting to Buckingham Palace earlier the following morning to give us a real chance of achieving my ambition (and my expectations ).
Arriving in London at the Melbourne House Hotel, which we highly recommend (ask John about the Regency Café), around 9 pm, we checked in promptly. We met some lovely ladies from where I was born, Canterbury, who were also there for the jubilee. We took a late evening walk to Buckingham Palace to see how things looked. Since eateries were nearing closing, we didn’t stay too long. A couple of photos, and we were on our way. We ended up dining at Cyprus Mangal, which we also highly recommend. Back to our hotel and into bed by midnight, I wake around 5ish as I have been, and the thought ‘should we go now’ flows through my mind. No way would I get my trusty trouble and strife mobilised at this time!
Off to see the Queen around 9 am. After 500 metres, we had already seen some extraordinary patriotic characters and moved into some very crowded areas. We move forward next to Buckingham Palace in the same spot as the previous evening where we hot the ‘queue’. A choice, do we go for the mall or the alternative route? We go for it, the Mall. We start moving forward slowly, and clearly, they are letting people through to some degree. I’ll upload a video once I get on top of my GoPro 10 360 footage editing, and you will be able to see what you didn’t miss.
I felt for the police at this stage. They were calling for everyone to turn around, which brought frustrated responses from large parts of the crowd while allowing other people to keep moving forward. They kept calling for people with tickets who they would escort to the front. The one group we saw who had tickets looked very much in the aristocracy. Candy and I decided to give this route up at this time. As we walked back feeling frustrated, I spoke with the police doorman at one of Buckingham Palace entrances. He highlighted that the stands and construction were unusual and only in place for this event. It seems whoever organised this event targeted shelves and areas for an elite few leaving the many people from the public outside. I felt more disappointed; the best seats were in the place, taking up a lot of space for a few people, yet the mainly working-class folks who came to see the Queen would not get a decent chance.
We walked around and found another queue which was ultimately blocked off. A security guard gave us a brief trooping show run down; the time was 10:30 am, and the ‘Trooping’ was in progress. This would go through until 12:30 when they would eventually open the mall to the public. The Queen and family should be on the balcony from around 1:30 pm, with the fly by occurring once the Royal family are on the balcony. We had another 2-3 hours to wait until there was a slight chance we end up in the right place to the Queen on the balcony because there were so many constructions between the mall and the balcony; I wasn’t convinced a clear view would be. Achievable. We needed the restrooms, and there was nothing organised on this front. Everything seemed to be stacking up against us. Do we spend the next hours rolling the dice to see if we achieve what is now a challenging goal, or do we cut our losses?
At this time, I started to question how much of a monarchist I am, my disappointment in how this event was organised, seemingly geared to select people who had tickets. The reward was fading fast for the effort and risk involved in seeing the Queen on the balcony. This is why this blog is under well-being because there comes a time when one needs to cut losses and move on, which is a critical tool to use in life. Søren Kierkegaard mused something like, “do it, don’t do it, you will regret it either way” with this in mind, and having a lot to do with our business and Candy’s heart not entirely in it, it was time to grab our bags and head home.
What is the Royal family good for?
The royal family perform many duties to support the British monarchy and country. These include; state visits, attending official engagements, supporting charities and patronages, carrying out military roles and representing the UK at home and abroad. The Queen is the head of state in the UK, carries out many ceremonial duties, and acts as a figurehead for the nation. She meets regularly with the Prime Minister to discuss government affairs, and she also has regular meetings with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. The royal family also support a vast number of charities and patronages. They often use their public platform to raise awareness for important causes, such as mental health, environment, education, etc. The royal family also have several military roles. The queen is the commander-in-chief of the British Armed Forces, while other royal family members hold honorary positions within the various branches of the military.
The Queen has been marvellous at navigating constitutional monarchy, the Queen only reigns because the people allow it, and this Queen, I feel, deserves that admiration and respect. The sense of duty the Queen has shown for the job one has for life is remarkable. Do the following royals earn the same respect? That is what I’m not sure about.
Why become anti-monarchists?
How to make an anti-monarchist? Well, I probably was never a fully-fledged royalist in the first place. I did follow Royal events, and because the Queen was born the same year as my father, I always felt some connection, mainly when I think back to stories my father shared around WW2. On this great day, what had started to turn my nose? The previous night, many stands and construction had been put in place, which was never there at an earlier jubilee celebration. After massive confusion of police telling us to go another way but still letting people go forward, the police called for people who had tickets.
There are many reasons to become anti-monarchists. For one, monarchies are undemocratic and give an unfair advantage to a select few. They also tend to be entirely corrupt, with little accountability for their actions. Monarchies often lead to conflict and instability as different factions compete for power. Finally, monarchy is outdated and no longer relevant in the modern world. Many other, better forms of government can provide more liberty, equality, and justice for all citizens. So if you’re looking for an excellent reason to become an anti-monarchist, there are plenty to choose from! I’d be interested in your comments about these reasons for the British monarchy.
Why is this post in the wellbeing category?
So, we went to see the Queen but didn’t get close. Well, I suspect I would have been within half a mile of her at one point. However, we cut our losses early on and bailed out around 11 am, we hadn’t seen anything, and we didn’t have a scooby doo on where to go to see anything. Fortunately, my wife Candy doesn’t read my blogs, so I can mention that Candy was keen to cut and burn. This is an excellent example of accepting defeat in one endeavour, changing course, looking for opportunities, and moving on.
A Jubilee Summary
If I’m honest, this post is a bit of a ramble as I’m split between my disappointment of not seeing the Queen today and my respect for what she has achieved. The organisation could have been much better. The organisers of this event should have been well aware of the influx and given the police much better information to pass on. There should have been several large areas where people could coalesce until the mall was open, complete with toilets and other conveniences. This would have been better for the public people than large stands and bands for a select few.
If you ever plan to attend one of these events:
- You need to be all in; that means camping out the night before or arriving at least 3-4 hours before the start and learning all the tricks.
- Anyone you go with also needs to be all in.
- Ensure you are enough of a monarchist that when things get tough, you hang in there.