The Chelsea Flower Show has been pushed back again as this week’s pleasure was the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. There was a four-day weekend, with the Trooping of the Colour, a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, a concert outside Buckingham Palace and a parade celebrating the seventy years of her reign. This was an excuse for bunting, cake and an outing to Putney Bridge to see the flypast when I should have been working at home.
I remember the Silver Jubilee when my parents hung swags of red, white and silver bunting from the roof of our house (long and low, it had a lot of roof). Or rather they stood on the ground and issued instructions to their daughter who was the only one small enough to easily crawl out of the attic window onto the parapet. It presumably broke every rule of health and safety and child-care but I remember rather enjoying it and I certainly came to no harm. My bunting this time is lower-key. I ordered ‘vintage’ as I thought it would look better against the pink roses but the bunting which arrived looked as if it had sat in someone’s attic for seventy years. Although once it was strung along the fence I warmed to it.
Watching the flypast from Putney Bridge meant I saw the 70 formation from a slightly skewed angle and the Red Arrows were no longer trailing smoke but it was still impressive. But this what we are good at: pomp, circumstance and brilliant commemorative spectacles combining grandeur and humour that I don’t think any other country can match (but I suppose I am biased). I didn’t read much about it in the newspapers but someone said elsewhere in the world there are the queens or kings of this or that country, we have The Queen. It’s so true.
For the best and most charming humour, watch Her Majesty having tea with Paddington Bear; it’s easy to find on the Internet but make sure you see the full version starting with a view of the Royal Tea Cosy, not just the clipped one as otherwise you’ll miss an excellent tea pot moment. Best of all was Paddington’s heartfelt thanks to the Queen at the end. ‘For everything.’