Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom's Golden Jubilee

Unfortunately I couldn't travel to London myself during the Jubilee weekend, but I tried to watch as much on television as possible. Lucky me to be able to receive the BBC here in the Netherlands, so I had the chance to watch the classical concert on Saturday evening, as well as the pop concert on Monday evening, that both took place in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, they were both exceptional. As I had to go to work I only managed to see the last part of the parade on Tuesday, but I at least got a short impression and if the parade was the same before I started watching, it must have been wonderful. After having watched everything possible on television and after seeing the photos on the Internet I was almost sorry I hadn't gone to London myself, because I would have loved to be a part of that enthusiastic mass of people on The Mall. I have heard stories of several people on the Internet who have been in London and thought it was wonderful.

I don't really read newspapers, but my mother always sends me press cuttings from my parents' regional newspaper and of course I have seen the front pages of newspapers in the shops, so I can say at least a bit about what the Dutch thought about the Jubilee. Several Dutch newspapers had photos of the Golden Jubilee on the front page, some even in colour, so I suppose also inside them were some short articles about it. My parents' regional newspaper had the most coverage for the pop concert, writing about the Queen feeling a bit strange, and about the Prince of Wales and sons William and Harry finding everything wonderful, and that Princess Anne was accompanied by her 'cool' daughter Zara Phillips. Except for the fire on Sunday and a short piece about the events on Tuesday, the newspaper didn't really write that much. The small Tuesday piece contained a photo of a girl in a 'Union Jack' dress with crown on her head and a flag in her hand, and reporting that the Golden Coach of Queen Elizabeth II is more majestic than the Dutch one (not everyone here will agree with that). I have the feeling this newspaper isn't really a monarchical one although they write about royalty quite a lot. I haven't seen the other newspapers, but I am sure there were a few which most likely wrote some more about the festivities during the long Golden Jubilee weekend.

Many people have enjoyed the star-studded Saturday evening with performers including Dame Kiri Ti Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen, and cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, and further with dance and fireworks. It must have been great for the people outside when, at the end of the concert, the Queen made an unexpected appearance outside on The Mall. What I myself enjoyed most, and Queen Elizabeth II most likely less, was the superb pop concert on Monday evening. I hope my neighbours didn't hear me sing and dance in my living room during the concert. Happily the fire that broke out in the roof loft of the West Terrace of Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening didn't affect the event. I found the start of the concert with Queen guitarist Brian May playing the national anthem from the roof of the palace very impressive to look at, although I wasn't very fond of the way he played the national anthem. It was obvious the Prince of Wales and his two sons William and Harry enjoyed the concert and the comments (of among others Dame Edna Everidge) enormously. She greeted the Queen with the words: "The jubilee girl is here, possums," and joked: "The show is a little loud. You may enjoy it more in Balmoral. Even Windsor would be too near." To my observation I think the Queen agreed with her. Despite the superb performance of stars like Phil Collins, Elton John, Cliff Richard, and Tom Jones, for me the best part still had to come.

Although the royal family came on stage at the end of the concert, they unfortunately didn't sing along with the artists, although on photos I saw later that a few members of the royal family had sung songs from the royal box before the end. After the stage appearance, while Paul McCartney played 'Hey Jude' it was however Cherie Blair, wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, who jumped of her seat to sing the song as loud as she could. Must have been youth sentiment for her, but it is one of my favourite Beatles songs, too, although I was born a few years after the Beatles had split up. It seems to become tradition as the Prince of Wales, as he did at his 50th in 1998, began his tribute to the Queen: "Your Majesty... Mummy," and then went on: "Ladies and gentlemen, in my long experience of pop concerts, this has been something very special indeed." About his mother he said: "We feel proud of you - proud and grateful for everything you have done for your country and the Commonwealth over 50 extraordinary years." After the concert the Queen, accompanied by 300 children carrying lanterns, lit the final beacon at the Mall that triggered a spectacular firework display in the night sky above Buckingham Palace and "Son et Lumiere" with colourful projections - psychedelic to heraldic - on the walls of Buckingham Palace. I had never seen such a firework before in my whole life and enjoyed it very much, even on television, but it must have been great to be there. I didn't go to bed until right after the concert, which was 12:45am here in the Netherlands, although I had to go to work early again in the morning.

Since the end of June the Queen has become the fourth longest reigning monarch of Great Britain ever. In Europe only Prince Rainier III of Monaco reigns longer at the moment, as he is already on the throne since 1949, and from the other monarchies also King Bhumibol of Thailand beats her as he is even reigning since 1946. But without any doubt Queen Elizabeth II presently is the longest reigning Queen. Still the Golden Jubilee isn't over yet, as the Queen won't finish her tour along the British counties until later this year, but I don't think any newspaper in The Netherlands will write about it anymore, unless the Duke of Edinburgh makes another of his stupid remarks as that is something newspapers and magazines here find most interesting. But I and many other Dutch monarchists will try to follow the Jubilee further on the Internet, as it doesn't happen that often that a monarch celebrates his/her Golden Jubilee.

Netty Leistra
Royal Watch
July 2002

1998- Netty Royal
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