You have to feel for the Queen. Sixty years of rule and 86 years of age, and when the time finally came to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee, she had to stand out in the cold and damp for some three hours, gritting her teeth and ensuring none of the thousands who came out to watch could view her displeasure. As usual, HRH Queen Elizabeth II has put everyone else before her now weather-beaten person.
After a week of almost Mediterranean heat, this weekend has once again seen London dip right back into the wintery monotony which has hung over it like a bad smell for the bulk of 2012, right at the very time when two and a half years of planning reach their peak, and the country goes into Diamond Jubilee celebration-mode with a four day diary packed almost exclusively with outdoor activities. You also have to feel for the thousands of people who were out waiting hours by the river today to see a glimpse of HRH upon the Royal Barge, and the thousand or so ships which made up London’s biggest River Pageant for some 400 years. Not only must they have freezed (I, sensibly, wasn’t one of them), but they’ve probably all caught the flu.
The broadcasters kept on telling us that the weather didn’t dampen Jubilee spirits, but come on, let’s get real here – half of the pageant could barely be seen through the mist which descended over London, covering up much of the newly-constructed Shard in its midsts (it is, after all, the tallest building in Western Europe, but more than usual of it’s lofty facade disappeared today) or because of the rain drops covering the lenses of TV cameras. Meanwhile the large finale of hellicopters and goodness knows what other treats had to be cancelled, while a group of poor sodden opera singers desperately carried on until the end, dripping from head to toe atop their boat like a group of stranded sailors, no doubt praying that they would avoid electrocution from all of the drenched microphones wired around their person.
That is not to say that the good old British spirit did not live on, making the most of a bad situation (every cloud has a silver lining and all that jazz) but just imagine how good it could have been if the clouds, which feel insuperably magnetised towards the UK soil, got lost, for once.
Here’s hoping for a bit of sun tomorrow, and that the Queen is suitably wrapped up with a hot water bottle tonight.
- Diamond jubilee flotilla to launch on river Thames (guardian.co.uk)
- Diamond Jubilee Weekend: Let the street parties begin! (normsonline.wordpress.com)