Wood from Newton's tree. A Waterloo bullet. The Queen's new palace on wheels


Blackleaf
#1
The Queen's magnificent new carriage - dubbed a palace on wheels - has been unveiled today, when it was used for the first time in the State Opening of Parliament.

The new Diamond Jubilee State Coach, which is the work of the finest craftsmen from across the Commonwealth, is only the second royal carriage to be built in a century and joins the unrivalled royal collection of coaches, phaetons, landaus, broughams and barouches.

And, in very British style, in manages to mix the new and modern with the old and traditional.

Unlike its predecessors, this modern royal coach features a 360-degree ‘coachcam’ offering a monarch’s-eye view of the procession on the royal website, gold-plated hydraulics, motor-racing technology and a dazzling museum.

For this palace-on-wheels is much more than the ultimate horse-drawn limousine. Open a diamond-clad door handle and, inside, we find a time capsule of 1,000 years of history.

Surmounted by a crown made from the timbers of HMS Victory (which contains a capsule which contains gold, frankincense and myrrh) which houses the royal website’s ‘coachcam’, the new state coach - which will be open to the public for viewing from tomorrow at the Royal Mews - contains relics of all those key moments sacred to Britain and so much of the Commonwealth.

The panelling includes slivers of Scott’s Antarctic sled, Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree, Hut Six at codebreaking centre Bletchley Park, one of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest ladders, fragments of the Mary Rose, fragments of a Lancaster bomber, a little piece of the Bronze Age Ferriby boat found in the Humber and the beams of most of our great cathedrals.

As she is drawn behind six horses, the Queen will be sitting on a piece of Scotland’s Stone of Destiny, upon which British monarchs are traditionally crowned, and surrounded by a bolt from a Spitfire, a musket ball from Waterloo, a bolt and rivets from the Flying Scotsman and a button from Gallipoli.

There’s even a fragment of the Chinese-made bronze cannon used by the Russians at Sebastopol during the Crimean War which was captured by the British and from which every Victoria Cross is cast, and a piece of metal from the wreckage of a 617 Squadron Dambuster.

Little wonder this three-ton coach — 18ft long — has taken 50 people more than ten years to assemble. And it is all the idea of one remarkable Australian.


The Queen's new palace on wheels: Wood from Newton's tree. A Waterloo bullet. Metal from a Dambuster. Unveiled for the opening of parliament today, carriage that's a mobile museum of our history


The Queen's new Diamond Jubilee State Coach is only the second new royal carriage to be built in a century
It contains relics of key moments and incidents from more than a thousand years of British history
Designed by Australian Jim Frecklington, 64, it is to be unveiled today when the Queen goes to Parliament

By Robert Hardman
4 June 2014
Daily Mail

With the latest in 21st-century technology — plus quite a bit from the 19th — it is unique.

And despite having travelled by Concorde, Royal Yacht, elephant and South Sea canoe, the Queen has never been carried in anything quite like the transport which will take her to today’s State Opening of Parliament.

Unveiled for the first time, the new Diamond Jubilee State Coach is only the second royal carriage to be built in a century and joins the unrivalled royal collection of coaches, phaetons, landaus, broughams and barouches.

None of the others, however, features a 360-degree ‘coachcam’ offering a monarch’s-eye view of the procession, gold-plated hydraulics, motor-racing technology and a dazzling museum.


Palace-on-wheels: Unveiled for the first time, the new Diamond Jubilee State Coach is only the second royal carriage to be built in a century

For this palace-on-wheels is much more than the ultimate horse-drawn limousine. Open a diamond-clad door handle and, inside, we find a time capsule of 1,000 years of history.

Surmounted by a crown made from the timbers of HMS Victory, which houses the royal website’s ‘coachcam’, the new state coach contains relics of all those key moments sacred to Britain and so much of the Commonwealth.

The panelling includes slivers of Scott’s Antarctic sled, Sir Isaac Newton’s apple tree, Hut Six at codebreaking centre Bletchley Park, one of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest ladders and the beams of most of our great cathedrals.

As she is drawn behind six horses, the Queen will be sitting on a piece of Scotland’s Stone of Destiny, upon which monarchs are traditionally crowned, and surrounded by a bolt from a Spitfire, a musket ball from Waterloo, a bolt and rivets from the Flying Scotsman and a button from Gallipoli.

There’s even a fragment of the bronze cannon from which every Victoria Cross is cast, and a piece of metal from the wreckage of a 617 Squadron Dambuster.


Chock full of history: As she is drawn behind six horses, the Queen will be sitting on a piece of Scotland's Stone of Destiny, upon which monarchs are traditionally crowned, and surrounded by a bolt from a Spitfire, a musket ball from Waterloo, a bolt and rivets from the Flying Scotsman and a button from Gallipoli

Little wonder this three-ton coach — 18ft long — has taken 50 people more than ten years to assemble. And it is all the idea of one remarkable Australian.

Jim Frecklington, 64, worked in the Royal Mews as a young man before returning home to help organise the Queen’s Silver Jubilee exhibition in Australia.

Having repaired carriages on the family farm in his youth, he set about building a replica of the 1902 State Landau.

This led to something even more ambitious and, in 1986, he built the Australian State Coach, a gift from the people of Australia to the Queen to mark the country’s bicentenary. It proved a very popular addition to the Royal Mews, not least because it was the first state coach with heating.

But Mr Frecklington, whose family emigrated from Britain to New South Wales in the 1850s, was not finished.

‘I wanted to make something in honour of Her Majesty’s great reign and something which represents our extraordinary history,’ he explains as he shows me his spotless creation in its new home behind the Palace.

So, he set about building something even larger than the Australian State Coach at his workshop near Sydney.


Symbolism: A part of the Stone of Destiny which is placed in a capsule beneath the seats in the new Diamond Jubilee state coach


Relics: Woods from various celebrated buildings and vessels have been used to inlay the doors, each with a little plaque saying where the wood came from


History: The panelling includes a button from Gallipoli, wood from the Mayflower, a rivet from the Flying Scotsman, slivers of Scot's Antarctic sled, wood from Sir Isaac Newton's apple tree, Hut Six at codebreaking centre Bletchley Park, one of Sir Edmund Hillary's Everest ladders and the beams of most of our great cathedrals

The construction was a labour of love. All the springs, for example, were hand-forged, while the wheels were cast in aircraft-strength aluminium and made by one of Australia’s leading racing car designers.

Mr Frecklington wanted to use the finest craftsmen and women from all over the Commonwealth. So, all the leather is English, as is the gold silk brocade upholstery (from Sudbury).

The lamps are glazed with the finest lead crystal from Edinburgh. The intricate heraldic paintwork has been hand-painted by Irish-born Australian Paula Church. The door handles are from New Zealand — each is gold-plated and inlaid with 24 diamonds and 130 Australian sapphires by Kiwi master jeweller Mike Baker.

Even the bolts which fix the gold-plated hand supports to the bodywork have been finished using the same guilloche enamel as a Faberge egg. And so it goes on.

Mr Frecklington has applied the same mind-boggling attention to detail to the historical artefacts which give the Diamond Jubilee State Coach its special status.

He began by asking the custodians of HMS Victory if he might have a piece of timber from Nelson’s flagship.

Once it was clear Mr Frecklington had the endorsement of Buckingham Palace, things started to progress. ‘I knew Victory had undergone a refit in 1922 and that they had set aside some timber, and they were kind enough to let me have some.’

The result is a crown resting on four lions modelled on those found on the gates of Buckingham Palace. The entire coach is covered with heraldic emblems, crests and motifs, all of which have been approved by the College of Arms.


Comfy: Flip up the armrests and there are discreet, Bond-style controls for the heating and electric windows underneath


'I wanted to make something in honour of Her Majesty': Australian Jim Frecklington, 64, designed and built the coach. The lamps, right, are glazed with lead crystal from Edinburgh


A wheel hub: Mr Frecklington built the coach in his workshop near Sydney, Australia using the work of the finest craftsmen and women from all over the Commonwealth

He then broadened his quest for other historic artefacts to include every great building and institution he could think of.

The trust which looks after Britannia donated some teak handrails from the old Royal Yacht. They now form the armrests (flip them up and there are discreet, Bond-style controls for the heating and electric windows underneath).

He secured contributions from Windsor Castle, Balmoral and even the old Royal Box at Ascot. St Paul’s and Winchester Cathedrals presented certified pieces, as did Westminster Abbey and many stately homes.

The panelling includes yew from Glamis Castle in Scotland, where the Queen Mother grew up, ash from Blenheim Palace and oak from Althorp, ancestral home of the Spencer family. Going back somewhat further is a little bit of timber from the Bronze Age Ferriby boat found in the Humber.

A strong theme throughout is sacrifice. Hence the metalwork from a Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster and many of our best-known battlefields. ‘I wanted something every family in the land can relate to,’ he says.


Crowning glory: Made from wood reclaimed from HMS Victory the reproduction crown sits atop four lions modelled on those found on the gates of Buckingham Palace

Mr Frecklington secured contributions from Windsor Castle, Balmoral and even the old Royal Box at Ascot. St Paul's and Winchester Cathedrals presented certified pieces, as did Westminster Abbey and many stately homes. The public can go to view the new carriage at the Royal Mews from tomorrow


Resplendent: The entire coach is covered with heraldic emblems, crests and motifs, all of which have been approved by the College of Arms


Dry run: The carriage rolls past the Palace of Westminster in a rehearsal of the State Opening of Parliament, set to take place today

There will be those who wonder why anyone should go to so much trouble — and how much it has all cost.

Besides, how do you put a price on all this?

Mr Frecklington smiles and says he’s not sure. He paid for a lot of it himself, but the coach has now been formally acquired for the nation by the Royal Collection Trust following a private donation. In other words, it hasn’t cost the taxpayer a penny.

After today, though, the public will be able to view it, along with all the other coaches and carriages, during the daily opening of the Royal Mews at the back of Buckingham Palace.

Though the Queen has seen the finished product, she will not have ridden in it until today. Mr Frecklington — who is already working on his next project, a tribute to horses that went to war — has been allocated a ringside view of the royal arrival at the Palace of Westminster.

‘It will be a very special moment,’ he says. ‘She’s a wonderful example to humanity, and this has been a great team effort.’


The Queen arrives for 2013's State Opening of Parliament in the Irish State Coach, which had been her traditional carriage for the procession from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament. This year she will use the new Diamond Jubilee State Coach


In 2012, the State of Opening of Parliament saw the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh use the Australian State Coach for the procession. It was then the newest in the Palace's collection, having been presented to mark Australia's bicentennial in 1988.



Last edited by Blackleaf; Jun 4th, 2014 at 09:16 AM..
 
Kreskin
#2
Does it come with bluetooth?
 
Blackleaf
#3
I've got no idea.
 
Kreskin
#4
The convenience package comes with aluminum alloy wheels and a Bose speaker system.
 
EagleSmack
-1
#5
Abolish the monarchy.
 
Nuggler
+2
#6  Top Rated Post
Lots of cymbalizm.......door handles indeed. The hands of yon queenoid should never need to touch a door handle.

Would from Newton's tree, or would you not ? .......pretty corny Nugs.

Wonderful thread, Blackleef. You must have had to trot about a fair bit to take all those pictures.. Helluva job, Blackie.
 
IdRatherBeSkiing
+1
#7
What a colossal waste of money. I am sure it was not taxpayers that paid for this. LOL
 
Kreskin
+1
#8
Great gas mileage. Very Eco friendly. I will order the coupe.
 
The Old Medic
+1
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

Abolish the monarchy.

That decision is up to the British people, and the people of each and every Commonwealth Country. Any one of them, or several, can choose to no longer have the Monarch as their "Head of State", if they so choose.

In Great Britain, the vast majority of the people want to retain the Monarchy.

Personally, as a fellow Canadian Citizen, I favor retaining the Monarch.
 
Nuggler
+1
#10
Personally, as a fellow Canadian citizen, I don't give a sh*t.
 
Colpy
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by The Old MedicView Post

That decision is up to the British people, and the people of each and every Commonwealth Country. Any one of them, or several, can choose to no longer have the Monarch as their "Head of State", if they so choose.

In Great Britain, the vast majority of the people want to retain the Monarchy.

Personally, as a fellow Canadian Citizen, I favor retaining the Monarch.

I agree
 
darkbeaver
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by KreskinView Post

Great gas mileage. Very Eco friendly. I will order the coupe.

You could not afford the oats.

Quote: Originally Posted by The Old MedicView Post

That decision is up to the British people, and the people of each and every Commonwealth Country. Any one of them, or several, can choose to no longer have the Monarch as their "Head of State", if they so choose.

In Great Britain, the vast majority of the people want to retain the Monarchy.

Personally, as a fellow Canadian Citizen, I favor retaining the Monarch.

Who gives a flyin fock about the vast majority of Craft dinner eaters? Retain the Monarchy! That's what we've been doing for two thousand years. Isn't it time they left the nest? So your in favour of the right of hereditary taxation? This is why the majority works for the real useless eaters.

On the other hand it is a magnificent example of decadence often associated with decline, fine craftmanship dripping in the bygone cravy, slathered with the butter of half truth tradition, old stories of ancient glory, this is symntomatic of Imperial rust and corrosion natural enemies of the hereditary privileged.

What have they added to the Empire lately? zip Englamd is the most likely epicenter of a Zombie outbreak.
 
Blackleaf
-1
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaverView Post

Who gives a flyin fock about the vast majority of Craft dinner eaters? Retain the Monarchy! That's what we've been doing for two thousand years. Isn't it time they left the nest? So your in favour of the right of hereditary taxation? This is why the majority works for the real useless eaters.

On the other hand it is a magnificent example of decadence often associated with decline, fine craftmanship dripping in the bygone cravy, slathered with the butter of half truth tradition, old stories of ancient glory, this is symntomatic of Imperial rust and corrosion natural enemies of the hereditary privileged.

What have they added to the Empire lately? zip Englamd is the most likely epicenter of a Zombie outbreak.


And now he's off to eat his faux gras or lentil soup breakfast, washed down with some Fairtrade coffee in his local eco-friendly cafe before going on a CND march in Islington. Then, later tonight, he'll be joining his mate, Sandi Toksvig, to go on a march campaigning for more rights for black, lesbian, Muslim, paraplegic, republican members of the Green Party before coming home and checking online to see how his membership application for the LGBT Communist Party is faring, before a quick recital of The Red Flag in front of his bedroom poster of Lenin before he goes to bed.
 
tay
+1
#14
For although we call the state opening of parliament colloquially "the Queen's speech", it is not really about her at all.


The formal opening of the political year is more about the government and parliament asserting their rights over the monarch than it is about the sovereign reminding us of her centrality to our constitution.


The Queen reads a speech that is written by someone else, namely the government. They make her repeat excruciating political slogans.


Her representative in the Palace of Westminster - we aficionados call him Black Rod - has the doors of the House of Commons slammed in his face to remind the monarch who is boss.


MPs deliberately choose to debate the way outlaws are treated before they get round to considering what the Queen has said.


As she processes through the Princes' Chamber in the House of Lords, there are two statues representing mercy and justice placed there on purpose to focus her mind as she prepares to deliver her speech. The route is dotted with pictures and statues of previous monarchs, as if Westminster were saying: "We have seen your like before."


And here is the really cheeky move: parliament forces Her Majesty to consider her own mortality as she gets dressed for the occasion. For in the Robing Room of the House of Lords, where the Queen puts on her robe and imperial state crown, the authorities have chosen to display a facsimile of the death warrant of her ancestor, Charles I.


A gorgeous new carriage has been built - the Diamond Jubilee State Coach - to transport the Queen to Westminster with all mod cons: electric windows, heating and lighting, with wooden panels from the Victory, the Mary Rose and Scott's Antarctic base, and even a lead musket ball from the battlefield of Waterloo.


She is protected by real soldiers from the Household Cavalry and retired soldiers in the Yeoman of the Guard which to this day contains no sailors because they are still in disgrace for their mutiny at Spithead in 1797.




BBC News - The Queen shows us who isn't boss






In the city of Portsmouth naval heritage is more or less inescapable. As the town's role as a real naval base and traditional holiday resort has declined, so naval history has become more central to Portsmouth's presentation of itself to the world.


First, there are the 'historic' ships--the Mary Rose, the Warrior, and the Victory, Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar. Then there's the D-Day Museum, statues of Nelson, Montgomery and a Falklands Yomper, and much else besides. Even the new comprehensive is called the Admiral Lord Nelson School.


Yet in all this obsession with naval tradition there is one historic event of which there is not a hint or mention: the 1797 mutiny of the Channel Fleet at Spithead anchorage off Portsmouth. The omission is no mystery. There can be few developments more hateful to the ruling class than mutiny in the ranks of its armed forces.


In 1797 Britain was at war with France. It was a war waged to crush the democratic and revolutionary impulses emanating from the French Revolution, and to expand British colonial possessions in the Caribbean, India, and so on. In this war sea power was of the utmost importance but when, on the morning of 16 April, Admiral Lord Bridport ordered the Channel Fleet to put to sea not a single ship weighed anchor. One of the most heroic and successful struggles in the history of the British working class had begun.


The demands of the mutiny were simple and telling. For an increase in pay--sailors' pay had not increased since the middle of the 17th century, and the 1790s were a time of inflation. For better food--rations were meagre and almost inedible. For the removal of particularly hated officers-whom the men knew to be bullies and sadists.


This has made it possible for some historians to depict the mutiny as just a one-off spontaneous revolt of unsophisticated folk against intolerable conditions. The conditions certainly were intolerable. Many of the sailors were pressed men, ie prisoners on ship, and not allowed ashore for years on end. All lived cooped up in foul air with endless hard labour, facing the constant threat of disease, drowning and death in battle. All were subject to a permanent reign of terror which ranged from arbitrary blows with a rope end, through flogging with the cat o' nine tails, to keel-hauling and hanging at the yardarm. But the historical context was such that the revolt inevitably had much wider significance.


This was an age of revolution. Following the American Revolution and the French Revolution, radical ideas were spreading like wildfire round the world. It was the time of Tom Paine's The Rights of Man, of the great slave revolt in Haiti, of Robert Burns and William Blake, of Wolf Tone's United Irishmen, and of the beginnings of the British working class movement.


Spithead was part of that rising movement: ships of the line were the largest workplaces of the day, and the mutiny of the whole Channel Fleet was really a special form of mass strike in which the stakes were exceptionally high. Mutiny was a capital offence.
Every mutineer was risking death or public torture (flogging). Simultaneous mutiny of the whole fleet could not have been purely spontaneous. It needed prior organisation and leadership, albeit leadership that had to remain hidden.


The conflict was further sharpened by the circumstances of the war. The revolt of the Channel Fleet left the whole south coast open to invasion from France. This was the sailors' trump card, forcing the admiralty, parliament and even the king to deal with them. Relay riders broke all records for messages from London to Portsmouth.


The first response of the admiralty was to try to get the sailors back to work by promising concessions while keeping open the option of revenge on the 'ringleaders' once discipline was restored. This strategy was foiled by the intervention of Valentine Joyce, probably the real leader of the whole movement. Arriving just as a deal was about to be struck, Joyce reminded the sailors' delegates of the retribution visited on the Culloden, an earlier mutiny, and insisted on the need for a direct pardon signed and sealed by the king. When the delegates swung behind this demand Admiral Gardner lost his temper and showed his hand, threatening to 'hang every fifth man in the fleet'.


There followed several weeks of tense negotiations, with armed conflict nearly breaking out on the London (three sailors were killed on the orders of Vice-Admiral Colpoys).


But the sailors held firm and by mid-May the admiralty capitulated. Virtually all the sailors' demands were met, including the royal pardon and the removal of more than 100 officers, including Colpoys.


It was a great victory, and the sailors paraded with the townspeople through the streets of Portsmouth. Sadly, victory in Portsmouth was followed by the defeat of a second mutiny at the Nore in the Thames estuary (where about 30 men were hanged and many others flogged round the fleet).


But this does not change the fact that the Spithead Mutiny remains a beacon of the power of the rank and file and a glorious episode in the history of the oppressed. No wonder both the navy and the New Labour council want to leave it buried under a mountain of patriotic 'heritage'.




Red Letter Days: The Spithead Mutiny
 
Blackleaf
#15
My favourite part of the State Opening of Parliament is not Labour MP for Bolsover (since 1970) Dennis Skinner's humorous quips which he makes every year when Black Rod proceeds to the Dispatch box in the Commons and issues the command of the monarch that the Commons proceed to the House of Lords (this year he said 'Coalition’s last stand'; last year it was 'Royal Mail for sale. Queen's head privatised'; and in 2006 it was 'Have you got Helen Mirren on standby?'), quips which have been happening for so long they are now a British institution, but something which has been happening for far longer even that that: the searching of the cellars by the Yeomen of the Guard, to make sure no new Guy Fawkes has left explosives down there.

Every year, just before the State Opening of Parliament starts, the Yeomen of the Guard, who have been the monarch's bodyguard since they were founded by King Henry VII in 1485, search the cellars of the Houses of Parliament, armed with little lanterns, to make sure there is no repeat of the Gunpowder Plot. Once they have searched the cellars and made sure there are no would-be terrorists down there, each one is allowed a little glass of brandy.

Even though the former Houses of Parliament - the ones which Guy Fawkes and Co tried to blow up in 1605 - burnt down to the ground in 1834 (apart from the 11th century Westminster Hall), the cellars underneath the current Houses of Parliament are the original ones, the very cellars where Guy Fawkes and his cronies laid the explosives.



Yeomen of the Guard line up inside the House of Lords, as part of a ceremonial search ahead of the Queen's speech for the State Opening of Parliament. The Queen's Body Guard of the Yeomen of the Guard are a bodyguard of the British Monarch. The oldest British military corps still in existence, it was created by Henry VII in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field. As a token of this venerability, the Yeomen still wear red and gold uniforms of Tudor style. There are 60 Yeomen of the Guard (plus 6 Officers), drawn from retired members of the British Army, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force, but not the Royal Navy, because while members of the other services take oaths to the Crown, members of the Navy take an oath to the Admiralty.

Battle honours of the Yeomen of the Guard:
  • Field of Stoke, 1487
  • Boulogne, 1492
  • Blackheath, 1497
  • Tournai, 1514
  • Boulogne, 1544
  • Boyne, 1690
  • Dettingen, 1743

Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmackView Post

Abolish the monarchy.


The Queen has just reminded Britain why we don’t need her to abdicate


The Spectator
4 June 2014


‘Queen Elizabeth II: Queen Regent’ by Pietro Annigoni, 1954

It would be easy to look at the alluring photographs of Prince Felipe of Spain and his young family stretched over their garden sofa and wonder whether the United Kingdom should join the current fad for abdication among European royals. In stepping aside in favour of his son, Juan Carlos joins Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Albert II of Belgium in having given up the throne over the past year, while Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope in 600 years to resign his post.

With a little nudge from her advisers in grey suits might our own Queen bow out to a graceful retirement and make way for her son, or better still her grandson, and the monarchy become the living embodiment of what Tony Blair used to like to call when he was still in his early 40s a ‘young country’?

It is something strongly to be resisted. For all the skill of Prince Felipe’s PR agents and photographers, the best advert for monarchy this week is the sight of Elizabeth II doing as she has done countless times during her long reign: making the short journey from Buckingham Palace to the House of Lords to speak at the state opening of Parliament. Here, in one dignified octogenarian and the sense of duty which she exudes, is encapsulated the advantage of monarchy over republic.



Anyone tempted to giggle at the pageantry misses the point. The country has been led by 12 prime ministers since the Queen began her annual or mostly annual visit to Westminster. The Commons has been cleared-out by 15 general elections, many of them angry and divisive affairs. Yet the head of state to whom has fallen the duty of reading out forthcoming government bills, has remained constant throughout. She is a humble reminder to our here-today, gone tomorrow politicians that they are not bigger than the British state, that popularity in an election does not turn Britain into their personal fiefdom, nor the British constitution into their plaything.

It is a tribute to the Queen’s personal conduct, as well as to the robustness of parliamentary procedure, that while she must have announced many government bills over the past 62 years through gritted teeth few of us have any idea which ones. It is sometimes asserted that the Queen must by inclination be a Conservative, to judge by her love of country sports and waxed outdoor wear. But are we any the wiser what she really thinks on free schools, regulation of markets, the poll tax, nationalisation and privatisation? If there is a footman somewhere who has heard her expound on such issues he has kept it to himself.

The same, of course, cannot be said of her son, who at various times has appointed himself as the people’s spokesman on architecture, the environment and of late even dabbled in foreign affairs. We cannot know how Prince Charles would have behaved had he become king at an early age. We would like to think that he would have exhibited the same impartiality of his mother. But there is at least some probability that he would have shown less self-restraint.



To bring the second Elizabethan age to a premature close would be a folly, and not just because it would bring to the throne a man who seems less temperamentally suited to the role as monarch. British history has always tended to be viewed in periods relating to the monarch.

Georgian, Victorian, Edwardian; all mean something in our collective consciousness. The reign of Elizabeth II which, health-willing, will become the longest in history in little more than a year’s time will arguably be remembered as the greatest of them all. Unlike Queen Victoria’s it has not of course been an era of world domination, but as a period of peace and prosperity it is unsurpassed.

The monarchy, which might seem on the face of it to be an anachronism at odds with the spirit of democracy and meritocracy, can hardly have been higher. It is hopeless trying to compare the current minor clamour for republicanism with the suppressed urge for it during ages when to express it might have cost you your head, but no poll has ever put it at a level which would even remotely provide a platform to win a referendum on the subject. The monarchy is, at a time when our parliament, courts, churches, banks and many others have had their reputations battered, just about the most popular institution we have.



The ultimate test of our political system, however, comes not from inside but from the outside. The multitudes of wealthy foreigners who have made London the most sought-after city on the planet in which to live are not coming for our weather, our landscape or our architecture, pleasing though each of those things may be in parts. They come to live here because Britain is just about the last country on Earth where you can imagine tanks rolling up outside the parliament building, where you can imagine citizens being jailed for their beliefs or being slaughtered for their wealth.

The stability of our political system brings with it a huge dividend which no-one has yet thought to calculate. It attracts money and talented individuals in large measures. Queen Elizabeth II is a large part of that stability and, though old age of course brings it frailties, we hope that her reign will last a long while yet.




The Queen has just reminded Britain why we don't need her to abdicate » Spectator Blogs
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jun 5th, 2014 at 01:47 PM..
 
darkbeaver
#16
[QUOTE=Blackleaf;1927749]And now he's off to eat his faux gras or lentil soup breakfast, washed down with some Fairtrade coffee in his local eco-friendly cafe before going on a CND march in Islington. Then, later tonight, he'll be joining his mate, Sandi Toksvig, to go on a march campaigning for more rights for black, lesbian, Muslim, paraplegic, republican members of the Green Party before coming home and checking online to see how his membership application for the LGBT Communist Party is faring, before a quick recital of The Red Flag in front of his bedroom poster of Lenin before he goes to bed.[/QUOTE

I do like lentil soup with biscuits and butter.
 
Spade
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by ColpyView Post

I agree

So saith the founding member of the men's auxillary of the IODE.
 
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