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Vivat and all that

Vivat Regina Camilla!

Well, that’s done it now. What would Granny say?

Waking with yet another headache on a drizzly day, the old man having absented himself early for exercises, she struggles to remember what’s happening. Have a quick shower and it will come back to her.

Sure enough, ablutions complete and despite the headache failing so far to recede, memory kicks in. It is the day of the Coronation. A decree is self-pronounced that medication may be administered in order to appreciate fully the pomp about to be circumstantiated.

I imagine Queen Camilla feels the same. I hope for her sake hers was a swift gin to steady the nerves rather than anything stronger. She no doubt has more than a headache to deal with on any day of the week.

Anyhoo – whilst waiting for the drugs to kick in and my hair to dry, I am summoned by our Street Party Committee to move my car along the road to occupy a prime space outside the prospective arena, and thus prevent unknowing interlopers leaving their vehicles in the party area. I obediently execute the required manoeuvre, hoping that no-one notices the uncoordinated clothing, wet hair and grumpy face as I scurry back to my house through busy bunting-elves up ladders in the drizzle preparing for tomorrow’s event. As a sop to their endeavours, I quickly dig out my own two strings of quality cotton bunting from last year’s Jubilee festivities (quite a bonus to remember where I had carefully hidden them, I feel) and tie one loosely between porch and gate-post to absorb some of the rain, and the other inside my front window which will hopefully remain dry. I briefly sigh to myself that I’ll no doubt need to be up at dawn tomorrow to move the wretched car back again, but then determine to ‘buck up’ and plonk myself down in front of the television for the duration.

I have, by this time, missed much of the fun of dignitaries’ arrivals, but I would have needed to rise far too early to see them all, and am comfortably in position for the main event. What a relief not to have been invited in person; it would have involved far too early a start for me. And the fact that I have missed much of Huw Edwards’ droning is probably a plus.

So many words will be written about this momentous event, but it IS momentous and I cannot resist penning my own thoughts on such a solemn occasion. So, I decide to take notes while I watch – oh the tyranny of the blog. Yet this is immediately proved stupid, as I am unwomaned from the very start by Parry’s “I Was Glad” and have to glare unmoving at the screen to avoid drippage, and then as I begin to recover, we get the Vivats which just make it all worse. And not a note is taken for some considerable time.

Of course, I recover my composure and, quite quickly, my irreverence. Unlike on the occasion of the late Queen’s funeral, I am unable to resist a bit of a commentary as we go along. Pleased as we are that Huw Edwards has largely buttoned his lip since the ceremony has begun, Mr J and I supply our own drivel and badinage, aided and abetted by the full Order of Service (kindly supplied by the Times in the absence of our personalised invitations of course) which I have carefully spread out in front of me, amongst the many snacks I have lined up for essential sustenance.  This is all well and good until we are briefly joined by Daughter J just as the white-clad Gospel Group perform. Apparently, it is not acceptable to point out at this juncture that Meghan should have been there after all! I hang my head in remorse. I should know better. I do know better.

Moving on.

As penance, and also as a result of poor note-taking, I will limit my further observations to the following:

  • A friend of a friend’s daughter was singing in one of the choirs and we spent many idle moments trying to determine which one he was – despite not knowing what he looks like, which choir he is in, which voice part he sings or even what approximate age he might be
  • I was surprised to enjoy enormously the newly-composed Kyrie eleison in Welsh as sung by Bryn Terfel. Another moment to stare intently at the screen.
  • It was disconcerting that Queen Camilla led the procession on entry to the service, but was then largely ignored for most of it. “I’m still here, you know! I’m Queen!” we cried on her behalf from time to time.
  • I enjoyed the regalia, particularly the golds and the purples, but I failed to understand why several of the priests had what appeared to be large golden pockets on the fronts of their frocks close to the ground.
  • How no-one sniggered at the presentation of the rings to both King and Queen on suggestive velvet-chipolata-fingered trays was beyond me (and Mr J – we’re as bad as each other and Daughter J had withdrawn to her room by this stage so we could revert to form)
  • As a fan of musical theatre, Daughter J should perhaps have waited for the Lloyd Webber composition. I like to think she would have joined in her parents’ spontaneous cheer at the inevitable key change moment.
  • A further thought on those Gospel singers – in fact far more powerful evidence of our progress towards diversity and inclusivity could be seen in the fabric of the service: a Hindu Prime Minister reading from the Holy Bible; a female Jewelled Sword of Offering; subtle involvement of many faiths throughout; female and male clergy; multi-ethnic choristers and choir members of both sexes. The Princess Royal on her horse in the rain. All carefully orchestrated, to be sure, but successfully so (in my humble opinion).
  • A commentator wondered later what the religious ceremony did for the large swathes of people in our country who have no religion. And what of those who don’t agree with having a monarchy? Good questions. I’ve no idea. Sorry.
  • Well, ok, if pressed I would say that I think there is still a place for this pageantry, many people enjoy it and tourists lap it up. A slimmed-down monarchy can perform useful roles in society. And one of the advantages of the Church of England is that you can get away with anything, even not believing in any of it (but don’t quote me on that, obviously)
  • And please can we not have another state occasion which might prompt yet another Street Party, as I confess to being a little less than enthusiastic now it seems to be an annual event. As I type, I am fretting that the jar of sweets I have carefully assembled post-Coronation for my traditional ‘Guess the Number of Sweeties’ competition may not be suitably impressive this time round (but it will have to do, because Mr J has eaten all the spares now). The actual number is a closely-guarded state secret. If only I could remember where I wrote it…
  • Penny Mordaunt is now my hero. If only I had the strength of arm, or the orbs, to deliver such a performance. Respect!

This is a hastily thrown-together blog-post in an attempt to be up-to-the-minute topical.

But I think I have managed to write the whole thing without mentioning Prince Harry.

… oh, bugger!

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