As the Union Jack bunting goes up in The Enchanted Village, we pause for breath as we think of all the events happening here over the four-day bank holiday weekend to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
We could be the busiest village in the country. With just 400 households, we have a Big Breakfast, a pram race, a Victoria sponge competition, a village artwork, a community poem, children’s games on the green, an exhibition of quilts, a church service, a cream tea, a scarecrow contest, the Queen’s Thames barge trip on the big screen for our older residents, a display of flowers and royal memorabilia, a parade of banners, a street party, live music, disco, barbecue, beacon lighting and fireworks on the allotments and a novelty game of rounders on the cricket field.
We’re getting quite excited. Especially me, as I’m in charge of the street party entertainment. My iPod download list now boasts such classics as, ahem, The Macarena and Oops Upside Your Head. Watch us get on down.
This village needs no excuse to party. We’re at our best when we do things together. It’s that kind of place. As the mist unfurls from Bluebell Hill, The Enchanted Village is revealed, like Brigadoon except a bit more often than everyone hundred years. And as the fog dissipates, you can see us having fun.
But we’re no strangers to royalty in this village. In 1651, the Queen’s ancestor, Charles II, stopped at our house on his flight from the Roundheads at the Battle of Worcester. The royalist publican gave the future king a hiding place as the troops gathered in the rooms below.
He got away and, just nine years later, the country asked him to come back and be their king. He entered London on his birthday, 29 May. To celebrate his return, 29 May was made a public holiday, popularly known as Oak Apple Day to commemorate the tree in which he had hidden at Boscobel, just before he got to our place.
To be honest, I’ve never really been a royalist. I’ve always been interested in the history but I used to stay in my seat when God Save The Queen was played at the local pantomime. And when the Best Man raised a toast to Her Majesty at our wedding, I refused to get up. It was my wedding, not hers.
But, as I’ve got older, I’ve mellowed. I think it was the antics of all the hangers-on that turned me off. And when I think of the alternative – a President Cameron – my heart sinks.
The Queen is our figurehead. She works hard, as do her inner royal circle of the Duke of Edinburgh, her children and William and Harry. There was a time when the nation was in danger of going off the monarchy, but the tide has turned and people are beginning to see the point of it all. Having a royal heritage has shaped us over the years. We are the richer for it. Well, some of us at least.
In a time of recession, some harbingers of doom are saying we’re spending too much money on the jubilee and, dare I say it, the Olympics. But I don’t think you can put a value on the feelgood factor it’s going to give us or the longer term spin-offs. You really can’t. I don’t know how we can look back in history and see how Queen Victoria celebrated her diamond jubilee and say ‘how interesting’ and then fast forward to 2012 and say it’s all a waste of time and money.
The Diamond Jubilee weekend will be a massive celebration, a party that brings people all over the country together. And, my God (although I don’t necessarily believe in Him, either), that’s something we really need.
- Maddie x
You can follow Maddie Grigg at her blog, World From My Window.