Last week, like many, I was thinking… “Great, another warm sunny day, not a cloud in the sky” but as usual for our damp Island Nation, basking Brits had their short-lived enjoyment of our somewhat rare clement weather sharply curtailed. Now here we are, on the day of (arguably) one this nation’s most important events in history and it pissed down all day…
As today’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant finally came to fruition; after months and months of planning, not to mention the considerable amount of cash it cost to stage, down came the rain, bloody typical. Over one thousand boats had mustered on the River Thames for the nautical cavalcade and it pisses down!
More than one million rain-soaked people have watched the Queen’s 1,000-boat Diamond Jubilee pageant weave its way along the Thames, organisers say…(bbc.co.uk)
The celebration of Pomp & Circumstance in reverence to Her Majesty The Queen wasn’t to be dampened – No chance – It went ahead, it was a great success and the only casualty of the day was the final air display. But to my mind, this pageant wasn’t just about honouring our Monarch’s sixty year reign, it was also a celebration of the maritime heritage and nautical history of our nation.
My nautical interest lay mostly with the historic Dunkirk Little Ships, the Police Marine Unit, the Royal Navy, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the narrowboats. The musical content was also welcome, from classical renditions of Rule Britannia, or perhaps a Fantasia on British Sea Songs for that matter, but it was also enjoyable to hear a quick offering from the Fisherman’s Friends of Port Isaac, a group who specialise in Sea Shanties & Sea Songs.
Reading up on them once I found an interesting personal connection… Apparently the lads, who have been gathering on the village quayside on summer evenings for nearly two decades, sing rousing sea shanties and traditional folk songs, all for free beer.
A band I once performed with used to do the same, we’d play at a pub and the landlord would remunerate us in beer. But unlike the Port Isaac lads who’ve since gone on to fame and fortune, our band ultimately met its demise. Possibly due to conflicting interests amongst band members but mostly due to the fact; we were actually consuming the nightly profit margins of some of the local hostelries!
Despite the weather putting a slight dampener on the day, it’s relevance in my opinion was furthered by the ITV showing of All The Queen’s Horses later in the day, an event that was actually staged last month.
This mix of Royal history, music, dance and equine excellence was a display to behold and one that should raise pride in the bosom of any British citizen, Royalist or Republican. For not only did it contain the almost expected dose of pomp and circumstance, in true last night of the proms traditions, it sought to document the loyalty and devotion our Monarch has to her nation and to its people.
Being a person who has devoted a large part of his life to the service of Queen and Country, I am proud to say I’m a Royalist. So, to those republican activists who put their heads above the parapet of a loyal majority to voice their opinion today I would say; if the day ever comes when you can show you have served our country with the same devotion, dignity and selfless duty as displayed by Her Majesty then I will listen to your arguments for republicanism… Until then shut up!
- Diamond Jubilee: River Thames pageant to honour Queen – BBC News (bbc.co.uk)
- Queen’s diamond jubilee: pageants, parties and more – live (guardian.co.uk)
- Setting sail for the Jubilee (independent.co.uk)