The service of Readings and Hymns for The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee was packed to the rafters on June12th, so for those of you who weren’t able to attend (and for those of you who did!) Hugh has suggested we print the readings here for you to enjoy. There are some remarkable facts about our wonderful Queen amongst these pages.
The Coronation Leek
by Peter Jackson
from a memoir by Norman Hartnell (1901-1979)
“The Queen made a wise and sovereign observation, that she was unwilling to wear a gown for the coronation bearing emblems of Great Britain, without the emblems of all the Dominions of which she was now Queen.
So to confirm the accuracy of these emblems,
I consulted that amiable authority, Garter King of Arms, at the office of the Earl Marshal. He supplied me with a particularly decorative Tudor Rose, then the Thistle and the Shamrock proved simple. I then made the mistake of asking for the daffodil of Wales.
‘A daffodil!’ exclaimed Garter. ‘On no account will I give you a daffodil. I will give you the correct emblem of Wales, which is the Leek.’
The leek I agreed was a most admirable vegetable, full of historic significance and doubtless of health-giving properties, but scarcely noted for its beauty.
Could he not possibly permit me to use the more graceful daffodil instead?
‘No, Hartnell. You must have the Leek,’ said Garter, adamant.
Presently an appointment was made to visit Sandringham House. On a very cold Saturday morning, we motored up to Norfolk with two car loads of people and dresses. There, we staged the most informal dress show I have ever presented, for it took place in a large bedroom of old-fashioned charm, where it was my duty to present to the Queen the final sketch together with the coloured emblems. Each of them had been mounted in a circular gilded wooden frame and I laid out the following emblems: The Tudor Rose of England, The Thistle of Scotland,
The Irish Shamrock, The Canadian Maple Leaf, The Wattle flower of Australia, The New Zealand Fern, The Protea from South Africa, Lotus flowers of India and Ceylon, and from Pakistan, wheat, cotton and jute.
Finally, with trepidation, I presented to Her Majesty the Leek, embroidered in white silk and diamonds with the leaves in palest green silk.
I should not have feared: apart from the Irish Shamrock, which was judged a little too verdant in tone, the Queen was pleased to agree to the ensemble as my design for her Coronation Gown, with the Welsh Leek proudly in its place.”
Happy and Glorious…
by Geoff Leach
As we are all aware Her Majesty The Queen leads a life of demanding duty, her days filled with affairs of state and public matters, much of which are undertaken in a blaze of publicity.
One of the happy ways she has found for relaxation is her love of horses.
Throughout her life the Queen has shown an active interest in the riding, breeding, training and stabling of horses whether they are magnificent animals presented to her by heads of state, or of more humble origins like her small fell pony, Emma, who was her favourite for over 24 years.
Because a horse belonged to the royal stable or was to be ridden by a member of the royal family it did not automatically guarantee that the horse had to have good looks or breeding or that it was always perfectly behaved. Her first horse was a small rather rotund Shetland pony called Peggy. It was a gift from her father on her 4th birthday. Peggy was to be the first of many.
When Elizabeth and her sister Margaret accompanied their father on a visit to a coal mine in Durham the young princesses became very interested in a small pony just about to go down the pit and within a matter of minutes the pony had been removed from its duties and presented to them as a gift. George (the pony) arrived in Scotland direct from the pithead and after being cleaned up, he turned out to be a rather unattractive pony who was obstinate, wayward and had a disconcerting habit of altering course abruptly when asked to canter. Gem was the next to arrive and by contrast was well behaved.
Carriage horses, polo ponies, deer ponies in Scotland and numerous children’s ponies have been a part of her own and her family’s life from the beginning. Horses that have competed at the Olympic games, numerous show jumping competitions and cross country eventing championships. Her children and grandchildren have competed on her horses to the highest levels.
One of her favourite horses was Burmese, a mare presented to her by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1969 when they came to perform at the Royal Windsor Horse Show .The queen road Burmese side saddle for 18 years at the trooping of the colour ceremony.
Although her majesty has not attended many functions this year you could guarantee that one she would not miss was the Royal Windsor Horse Show.
She was more than delighted when her horse, Balmoral Leah, was declared Supreme Champion. She also watched proudly as her granddaughter, Lady Louise drove her late Grandfather’s carriage at the head of the parade marking the centenary of the Fell Pony Society.
This love of horses has led her to becoming the patron of the British Horse Society, the Fell Pony Society, the Highland Pony Society, the Shire Horse Society, the Welsh Pony and Cob Society and the Thoroughbred Breeders Association. But her interests do not stop there.
The Queen’s knowledge of racehorses and their breeding is well known, winning in excess of 1600 races. In 2021 she fielded over 20 horses in flat racing across the United Kingdom and in 2016 alone won over £560,000 in prize money.
In total it’s believed she has earned over £7 million over the years which goes a long way in helping her to pay for 100 plus horses.
One of her greatest achievements in breeding was the mare Estimate. Having won the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot as a three year old Estimate went on to win the Saguaro Stakes before winning the Ascot Gold Cup. No reigning monarch had ever won the Gold Cup and it gave Her Majesty great pleasure in achieving an ambition to breed such a great horse and win such a historic trophy.
Estimate went on to win the Doncaster Cup and finally a creditable second in the Lonsdale Cup before retiring. Estimate now resides at the Royal Studs and I am sure her Majesty is very encouraged to know that the horses offspring are beginning to look like great prospects for the future.
One classic race meeting win that has alluded her however is the Derby. Sadly she had no horses running in last week’s race because if she had, I am sure that the bookies would not have been giving favourable odds. Let’s look forward to wagering a bet on her next year and hope she can add another great
by Richard Moffat
It is tempting when writing of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee to merely reach for the Thesaurus with a view to harvesting a bumper crop of superlatives. But it is virtually impossible to overstate the Queen’s achievements.
The longest reigning Monarch in British history, surpassing the reign of her
great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. The first British Monarch to visit China, and the first to address the United States House of Congress to name but a scintilla.
She has carried out more than 21,000 engagements over the course of her reign, a mathematical average of 300 a year, every year for 70 years. Such figures give testament to an unstoppable metronome of benevolence and service, through good times and bad times, through parenthood, through illness, through personal grief, through Covid, in moments of national despair such as the Aberfan mining disaster and in moments of national triumph as she handed the World Cup to the captain of the victorious 1966 team, the Queen remains an ever-present stoic totem of our national identify.
But lest we are tempted to treat this occasion as a metaphorical full stop on the page of history we do well to remember, that, to borrow from cricketing parlance, the Queen stands at 70 not out and is still at the crease. As the book of Proverbs reminds us… whoever walks with integrity walks securely (Proverbs 10.9) Typical then that her first instinct following last weekend’s celebrations was to reaffirm her commitment at the age of 96 to continue to serve the British people to the best of her ability.
It is not, on this occasion, a lazy or overindulgent hyperbole to describe this Platinum Jubilee as truly Historic. To give perspective we need appreciate that not a single person here today, even the very youngest of us, is ever likely to witness another such occasion in our lifetimes. Some here may witness other Jubilees but never a Platinum one.
It is of course beyond dispute that there are those within our nation for whom the concept of Monarchy is an anathema. If we were devising a system of government for the 21st century, we would not perhaps come up with what we have now. The arrangements for our head of state are in many ways antiquated, undemocratic, and illogical. But what is equally beyond dispute is that, empowered by her unbreakable faith, the Queen has served our nation with grace, dignity, humility and a selfless devotion to duty.
On the evening of her Coronation, she broadcast to the nation her intention that “Throughout all my life and with all my heart I shall strive to be worthy of your trust”
In a society which has increasingly little sense of our own history the Queen has given us both an invaluable and unbreakable connection with our nation’s past and yet at the same time encourages us to look forward optimistically to the future. A far more familiar constant than the here-today-gone-tomorrow politicians. The position of head of state is perhaps safer out of the hands of those who would want it merely to gratify their own ambition.
As ‘Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England’ the Queen is a committed Churchgoer and thoughtful Christian. On the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee at a multi-faith reception at Lambeth Palace, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams remarked the Queen has been able “…to show so effectively that being religious is not eccentric or abnormal in terms of the kind of society we claim to be”
At the same reception the Queen explained to those present her view that “The concept of our established church is occasionally misunderstood and, I believe, commonly under-appreciated. Its role is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country.” A sentiment she thoughtfully echoed in her 2014 Christmas broadcast in which she recounted “For me, the life of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, whose birth we celebrate today, is an inspiration and an anchor in my life.
A role model of reconciliation and forgiveness, he stretched out his hands in love, acceptance and healing. Christ’s example has taught me to seek to respect and value all people of whatever faith or none.”
As the former American President Barak Obama acknowledged in a warm and personal tribute made over the Platinum Jubilee weekend “although the world has changed dramatically in the seven decades since she came to the throne, her character has not. Her steadfast stewardship of our democracy coupled with a staunch devotion to duty has made the world safer place. Her life has been a gift not just to the United Kingdom but to the entire world”.
And so, in conclusion and in recognition of her PLATINUM Jubilee to borrow
from the words of Paddington Bear –
“Happy Jubilee Ma’am…and thank you…for everything”
The Queen and the Commonwealth
by the Guides
The Queen is the head of 15 countries in the Commonwealth. Four countries have the Union flag on their own flags. These are Australia, New Zealand, Tuvalu and Fiji.
She has travelled 1,032,600 miles as a Queen. This is equivalent to 42 circumferences of the earth. She has made more than 200 visits to countries. She has visited every country of the Commonwealth except Cameroon and Rwanda which joined later, as well as making many more repeat visits.She has set the record for being the most travelled monarch.
There are seven countries in the Commonwealth that have girl guiding groups. These countries are India, Singapore, Bruni, Cyprus, Tanzania, Malaysia and of course the UK.
Commonwealth Day is celebrated every year. In 1926 Britain and the Dominians agreed that they were all equal members of a community within the British Empire. They owed allegiance to the King or Queen, but the United Kingdom did not rule over them. The first country the Queen visited in the Commonwealth was Australia.
In 1954 on this first visit the Queen received a diamond wattle brooch from the people of Australia. This brooch is still worn on the many subsequent visits she has made.
The Queen was in Kenya when her father King George VI died. He had been recovering from an operation and died suddenly and unexpectedly in his sleep. He was 52 years old. This happened on the 6th February 1952. The Queen was 21 years of age.
The Queen was married to Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh who also attended many of her visits to the Commonwealth countries. Prince Philip was known for his joke telling that made most people laugh but sometimes shocked people too. Most of these situations used to end up on the front page of the news the next day.
One particular visit the Queen made in Washington became famous. She was standing on the podium making a speech and the podium had not been lowered. All you could see throughout the speech was her hat. Till this day that speech became known as the talking hat speech.
Across the Commonwealth at 9pm on June 2nd the first Commonwealth beacon was lit at a special celebration at Buckingham Palace. The Commonwealth beacons were then lit across the 54 capital cities of all Commonwealth countries to mark gratitude and to give thanks to Her Majesty The Queen and the head of the Commonwealth for her service to their peoples.
Ladies in Waiting
by Sian Nixon
A lady in waiting is the holder of a social appointment and only very trusted people of high social standing ie aristocracy/noblewomen are allowed into what is indeed the queens inner circle. As they are considered companions not employees, they do not get paid.
Ladies-in-waiting serve not only the queen, but also high-ranking women in the royal household. Kate Middleton has one, while the queen’s sister Princess Margaret had many.
The current Women of the Bedchamber to Queen Elizabeth II include Lady Susan Hussey and The Hon. Mary Morrison (both of whom were appointed in 1960) along with Lady Elton and Mrs Robert de Pass (both of whom were initially appointed in 1987).
The Hon. Dame Annabel Whitehead and Mrs. Michael Gordon Lennox were both appointed as ‘Women of the Bedchamber’ in 2002, and continue to take regular turns on duty.
Others to have served the Queen in this role include Mrs John Dugdale who was appointed in 1960 and retired in 2002; and Mrs Alexander Abel Smith who was appointed in 1953 (having previously served as a Lady in Waiting to Princess Elizabeth), and who continued to serve as a Lady in Waiting to the Queen into the late 1990s. Lady Margaret Hay had also served as a Lady in Waiting to the Princess Elizabeth before being appointed as a Woman of the Bedchamber in 1953; she continued in post until her death in 1975. Lady Rose Baring, appointed in 1953, also continued to serve until her death in 1993.
Although they don’t live at Buckingham Palace, they sometimes stay there or in royal apartments in London should their duties require it. They are close, often childhood friends of the monarch, and come from titled families whose lineages stretch back alongside royalty. They act as personal assistants to the queen, assisting in day-to-day activities such as running errands, delivering messages and organising correspondence, as well as attending to personal matters, and accompanying her on royal tours and visits.
A lady-in-waiting attending to the queen is usually called Lady of the Bedchamber and they are ranked between First Lady of the Bedchamber and the Women of the Bedchamber, each carrying out various duties.The Mistress of the Robes is almost always a duchess and the senior woman in the royal household. She is responsible for the regent’s clothes and jewellery, arranging the rota of attendance of the ladies-in-waiting and other duties at state ceremonies.
Sadly The Queen lost two of her most dear friends fairly recently. In early December, the Duchess of Grafton died aged 101 after serving the Royal Household throughout The Queen’s 69-year reign, and Lady Farnham, another lady-in-waiting, recently passed away at the age of 90. The lady who supported the Queen on the day of Prince Philip’s funeral was her dear friend, Lady Susan Hussey. The Queen personally asked Lady Susan, 81, to sit
with her as she travelled to St George’s Chapel.