‘Nothing to catch up with now the funeral’s over.’
‘Only what’s been going on in the rest of the world.’
‘No thanks, it was lovely having a break, I really miss The Queue and the marching oh and the vigils. There’s nothing to talk about at work now. Back to hearing about Thelma’s operation and Kitty’s boyfriend.’
‘Do you mind if I put it on, I want to see what the Chancellor of the Exchequer revealed in the Fiscal Event.’
‘The Fiscal what?’
‘Budget, mini budget, bound to be bad news, whatever it’s called.’
‘I can’t remember what the new chancellor’s called.’
‘No, nor can I, but apparently he’s very clever, won a scholarship to Eton and won University Challenge single handed.’
We never lived in Windsor, but the town, in the Royal County of Berkshire, was one of our favourite days out when we lived by Heathrow Airport. As the American tourist said ‘Why did they build a royal castle so close to the airport?’ – old joke. Along with many tourists and local families we enjoyed all it has to offer. ‘Long Walks in the Great Park’ – From the Castle gate to the foot of the statue of King George III (The Copper Horse) The Long Walk measures 2.64 miles in length. But the Windsor Great Park extends far beyond what you can see from the castle.
Windsor also has a theatre, a swimming pool, good shopping and the River Thames. A foot bridge takes you over the river to Eton where the famous school is spread out as part of the little town. You can also take a peaceful walk along the riverside very different from the bustle on the Windsor side.
You can go by train from Waterloo and arrive at Windsor and Eton Riverside station, or take the little line built for Queen Victoria, a one stop ride from Slough station ( direct line from Paddington ) which takes you into the heart of the designer shopping centre and exits opposite the castle.
Before the terrible castle fire in 1992 more of the castle grounds were free to the public to wander. We used to take our young children for a walk and show Australian visitors around. Under the archway, past the chapel, stroll up the hill. Our two year old once dashed into the guard room and was chased out by the guards. One side of the castle faces the town, but walk downhill to the river and the castle is high above you on a steep bank. When our daughter was a toddler she nearly gave a Japanese tourist a heart attack; he gasped in horror as she raced towards the turreted wall on the steep side of the grounds. She didn’t topple over, it was a safe height. Another time we peered through a gate and saw Princess Diana bring her two little boys out to watch the soldiers parading.
When we moved away from Heathrow we still visited Windsor on mini breaks to see our friends, usually staying at The Windsor Trooper, a great little old pub with bed and breakfast; bedrooms slightly crooked with sloping floors.
‘In 1917, the name of the royal house was changed from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor because of anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom during World War I. There have been four British monarchs of the House of Windsor since then: George V, Edward VIII, George VI, and Elizabeth II.’
Windsor Castle made the perfect setting for the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral, especially for the many of us who know Windsor well. The Duke apparently did not want a fuss and got his wish as the long miles of procession and crowd lined streets had to be scaled down to a ceremony within the castle precincts; a dignified walk down the hill with socially distanced military bands lined up with precision on the immaculate green.
The Band of the Grenadier Guards led the funeral procession and family members followed, Princess Anne in a long black coat and the men in morning suits. Following a coffin on foot seems dignified and respectful and it’s always good to see men smartly dressed. The Queen followed in her limousine.
I get nervous when I see The Queen walking unsteadily by herself, especially that day as she stepped out of her car and I wondered why she could not have formed a new bubble. Any other very elderly lady with strapping sons and grandsons would surely have been offered a strong arm to lean on. The Duke was her bubble, but she still has HMS Bubble, the loyal staff who have been on duty three weeks on three weeks off at the castle looking after the royal couple. Dog lovers will be glad to hear that The Queen, despite deciding a while ago not to breed or acquire any more dogs, has done what lots of people have in covid lockdown and acquired two puppies, a corgi and a dorgie, which she enjoys walking.
Inside the chapel were the regulation thirty guests and the emptiness perhaps enhanced the beautiful singing of the choir of four and the playing of the trumpeters. The royal family stuck by all the current funeral rules; we cannot compare their splendidly choregraphed event with bleak funerals at the local crem., livestreamed from one camera, but like other grieving widows The Queen sat by herself. After the service the family all strolled up the hill in the sunshine, ignoring the unnecessary fleet of cars lined up for them, though of course The Queen returned in her limousine. I like to think that once back in the royal apartments they all ripped off their masks and didn’t bother with social distancing!
Whether you watched the funeral avidly live on television and followed the highlights in the news later, or avoided all mention of it, there was more to the Duke of Edinburgh than most of us realised. The blanket comprehensive coverage of his life revealed a refugee from a broken home who saw real active service in the second world war. A life that did become privileged, but how many of us would want their whole life mapped out? Unlike lots of rich people he used his position to make a difference. He highlighted the plight of wildlife long before others were interested and created the Duke of Edinburgh Award to give ordinary teenagers the chance to take on all sorts of challenges. Those from a variety of countries who have spoken about meeting The Duke and how the award changed their lives will remember him and not the many politicians and world leaders who come and go.
Did you watch the funeral? Have you visited Windsor? Have you met any of the royal family?
What can any blogger write that doesn’t involve mentioning Covid, Brexit, The White House or the fact that a new year has started? Let us retreat to where most of us are at the moment, home. Home comforts, or what I now call Covid Comforts are keeping us going. If you are reading this it is unlikely you are in a refugee camp, an intensive care unit or a war zone; for that we should be grateful. If you look around your home I wonder how many modern wonders provide your life support system? The internet obviously, books, television, central heating, on line shopping, computer games. Before any of those was The Word, okay so radio came quite a while after the beginning of the Old Testament, but the first modern invention in my life was the radio, long before I could read, even before I could walk or talk music was seeping into my bones thanks to the BBC. Before I was born my parents were listening to programmes that are still being broadcast; The Archers, Desert Island Discs and Woman’s Hour.
Woman’s Hour has just had its seventy fifth birthday and received a letter from The Queen. When Dame Jenni Murray ( a national institution ) announced she was leaving after thirty three years, followed soon after by a similar announcement by Jane Garvey, who has been with the programme for thirteen years, my immediate thoughts were You can’t do this, not in the middle of a pandemic and my mother and husband have just died… As I have been listening at least since our first baby was born forty one years ago, there have been other favourite presenters, the programme will survive. The modern mother can listen on her iPhone while breastfeeding in the dark watches of the night. Many men also listen and people of all ages can hear the programme in the car or when out jogging. Very different from the early days when it was broadcast at 2pm and mothers were presumed to be sitting down for a rest after lunch while their babies were having their nap. There is fun, but there are dark topics. I imagine there is no controversial issue that has not been covered on the programme, Woman’s Hour is where we first heard about FMG. The final quarter of the hour is a serial, there is always something for everyone.
In that 2020 strange sunny spring and summer of isolation, Cyberspouse listened to Woman’s Hour every morning over our leisurely breakfasts in the sun lounge. BBC Radio Four in the mornings is packed with interesting programmes and three different serials. Thanks to Amazon I bought two more digital radios to add to our collection.
There is much more to say about radio; such as why are we fascinated by the shipping forecast… but that’s for another blog. For now here is something cheery, one of my early memories that I just heard on the radio. Light music is what we all need at the moment and there have been memorable tunes composed on both sides of the Atlantic. This is one for writers by Leroy Anderson, though I don’t think he could have written a piece about computers…
Buckingham Palace announced today that Britain will be leaving The Commonwealth. The news shocked many of the 53 member states who believed Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second and The Commonwealth of Nations would last forever. A spokesman for Charles, Prince of Wales, who in 2018 was appointed The Queen’s designated successor, said holding a referendum on this important change would have been too divisive for the United Kingdom; learning lessons from Brexit the exit will be swift. The spokesman denied that this monumental decision had anything to do with yesterday’s news that The Royal Family will be leaving Britain.
Although commentators initially believed The Queen was influenced by Prince Harry’s recent emigration, the shock news was later revealed that The Royal Family are not actually British. After receiving Ancestor DNA kits for Christmas, members of the family discovered they were 99% related to Europe Royal, a unique and entirely separate genetic group whose origins date back more than a millennium. One possible theory put forward by geneticists is that the kings and queens of Europe could only marry each other.
No statement has been issued about the future of the royal family, but it is believed Their Majesties King Harald and Queen Sonja have issued a warm welcome to any royal wishing to take up residence in Norway. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have not commented on reports that their new Canadian home includes a granny flat.
The Windsors will not be the only family leaving the United Kingdom. The roll out programme that started with all residents not born in Britain has now been extended to all Britons who cannot prove the ownership of four British grandparents. Shocked Leavers vented their worries on social media.
No one told us this would happen, we wanted to leave the European Union, not Britain.
Hang on… even the Prime Minister wasn’t born in Britain…
I wouldn’t have voted for Alexander Boris De Pfeffel Johnson if I had known his 5x great grandfather was King Frederick I of Württemberg!
I’m going to get one of those Ancestor DNA kits and prove I’m British.
I don’t even know who my father is let alone who my grandparents are.
If Leavers were also worried they put on a brave face.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, speaking early this morning from Windsor Castle, has confirmed that following her dissolution of Parliament late on Sunday night, Her Majesty’s new government will be formed by choosing bloggers who have the most Likes. Bloggers must be citizens of the United Kingdom. Ministers of the cabinet will further be selected from among the new Members of Parliament by The Prince of Wales, who will choose those with the best comments.
An unnamed source, claiming to be close to a Buckingham Palace spokesman, says part or all of the Queen’s Christmas Message has been leaked to a little known writer and blogger.
Queen Elizabeth the second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, broadcasts her message to the nation and The Commonwealth on television at 3pm on Christmas Day. How hard it must be to condense a year, a lifetime, the longest reign in the world, into ten minutes of wisdom interspersed with family movies.
But this year it seems the Queen is set to shake the nation out of their after lunch stupor.
“It was with great joy that I and my family celebrated two weddings this year, plus the birth of a new prince, reminding us all how important families are. We take comfort in the love of our families while all around us the world seems to face so many problems. The Christmas message of peace and goodwill can sometimes seem so far away and the World so hard to change, but we can all play our part. We must hold on to hope, at the same time taking every opportunity to offer help in practical ways. When my family and I took an AncestoryDNA test earlier this year we looked forward eagerly to the result, wondering what surprises lay in store. When the Duke of Edinburgh and I received our results we were reminded just how close we are to European Royalty, to mainland Europe itself; 33% Europe West, 33% Europe East 33% Europe Central were our precise results. It is for this reason, among others, that in 2019, the Royal House of Mountbatten-Windsor will be relocating to mainland Europe before the finalising of Brexit in March. The House of Liechtenstein have already offered us sanctuary, as has King Felipe VI of Spain.
But though Europe has been occupying our thoughts this year, so too has the Commonwealth and the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia were a great showcase. By the time of the next games in 2022 the Commonwealth of Nations will be larger. Last month a delegation from the United States of America visited Buckingham Palace to request closer ties between our two nations. As a result of very positive discussions my government will confirm that the monarchy is to be restored in the north american colonies. They will henceforth be called the United Kingdom of North America and the coronation of King Harry will take place on May Day 2019. Spring will also bring the arrival of the baby expected by King Harry and Queen Megan, this baby will be heir to the throne of the UKNA. It will be a great blessing for Megan to be reunited with her family and for her subjects to be united with their neighbours Canada in the Commonwealth of Nations.
May all our countries, ancient and modern know peace in 2019, I wish God’s blessing for you and all your families.”
One of my earliest memories is of standing outside a building with a tall policeman while my parents went inside to vote. He was dressed in his smart Metropolitan Police uniform with the traditional helmet. The police have always been there to look after the innocent as well as catch the guilty. Many voters this week would have been guarded by visibly armed police, but going to vote is still safe in this country. A snap election that most people didn’t want, other important issues clouded by terrible terrorist attacks, people braved the rain to vote and the result was as confusing as the run up. If you enjoy political discussion you will find it twenty four hours a day on radio, television and the internet.
I am more interested in what The Queen says to the stream of prime ministers who have had weekly hour long private audiences with her throughout her long reign.
After an election the new Prime Minister must visit Buckingham Palace to tell the queen he or she is forming a new government. While the PM returns to Downing Street to utter the words ‘I have been to see The Queen’, Her Majesty has to sit down and write her speech for the opening of parliament.
Alas, the speech is written for her and I wonder how often the words ‘My government will…’ nearly choke her.
It does not matter whether you believe in God or The Queen, I’m sure she does and unlike politicians who never keep promises, has kept her sacred vows to serve the country. Wouldn’t it be great if she decided she could best serve us by writing her own speech.
As part of my research I wondered if The Queen would like to be my Facebook friend. To my surprise she actually has a Facebook page;
I’m sorry to say only 196,569 people have Liked it, which is poor considering how many people in her kingdom are on Facebook. I was also disappointed she had made no comments about the election; not even a sad or angry emoticon.
I sent a message to see what would happen. Watch this space to see how the conversation continues.
Chat conversation start
How wonderful it would be if Her Majesty was allowed to write the Queen’s speech herself and hand out some sensible suggestions.
Thanks for messaging us. We try to be as responsive as possible. We’ll get back to you soon.
Her Majesty has not replied yet, but I’m sure she will soon when she’s finished writing her speech.