Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Why I Love the Queen: The Nation's Grandma

There are not many of us that can say that we would stick at a job for 60 years. There are not many of us who would continue working well into our eighties. And there are certainly not many of us who would do it with dignity, respect and class. And this is why, this week, we celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s 60 year reign – and it doesn’t look like she’s giving up yet! 

I know that not everyone is in favour of the monarchy, but whatever your political view or opinion, there is still an immense amount of respect due to our Queen and to her family. People seem to believe that the Royal family costs the British taxpayer a preposterous amount for doing very little. We imagine the life of a royal involves living it up at the palace, wearing priceless jewels, eating caviar, drinking champagne and going out for the occasional shoot or fox hunt. 

It’s a life foreign to us poor commoners living on the breadline, struggling to make it with our poor standards of education and healthcare. But the reality is, the royal family costs each UK citizen a mere 66p each per year and for that we have a monarchy respected throughout the world, boosting international relations, bringing in a ridiculous amount of money through tourism and providing political balance and stability. The fact is, that because of our monarchy, we could never be taken over by a dictator – The Queen provides a constitutional balance that prevents this from happening - and the Queen attends over 400 events every year, that's hard work for an 86 year old, whatever way you look at it!

All of this aside, the Queen is somewhat of a constant in British life. She has been there throughout many of our lives, we know no different and can not imagine life without her. We’d have to change all the money and our stamps for a start! She took on a huge responsibility at a young age and has reigned through a period of great change both in her nation and throughout the Commonwealth. She has reigned through times of great pain in her own family – circumstances that no family would wish to go through nor know how to handle – all whilst being under the watchful and critical eye of the world.

In the last few years her family have grown up, they have sorted themselves out and appear to be a very happy unit. Kate and Will have boosted the royal family’s profile and very much bought royalty back to the people, and the people love it! There have been street parties, flags have been flying and millions attempted to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty along the Thames yesterday (myself included!).

I love The Queen because she’s real to our generation. If Will and Kate feel like the nation’s best friends, then Her Majesty feels like the nation’s Grandma. It has been beautiful over the past few days to watch her as she enjoys her own momentous occasion whilst spending time with her family. When her cute little face breaks into a smile, she looks like every other dear granny!

Lastly, The Queen is a woman of bold faith, and in a country that has become so multi-cultural and pressured with political correctness, it was inspiring to hear her last Christmas as she proclaimed Jesus Christ to the world. She said in her Christmas speech 2011:

"Finding hope in adversity is one of the themes of Christmas. Jesus was born into a world full of fear. The angels came to frightened shepherds with hope in their voices: 
'Fear not', they urged, 'we bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 'For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord.'

Although we are capable of great acts of kindness, history teaches us that we sometimes need saving from ourselves - from our recklessness or our greed. God sent into the world a unique person - neither a philosopher nor a general, important though they are, but a Saviour, with the power to forgive.
Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith. It can heal broken families, it can restore friendships and it can reconcile divided communities. It is in forgiveness that we feel the power of God's love.

In the last verse of this beautiful carol, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, there's a prayer:
'O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray.
Cast out our sin
And enter in.
Be born in us today.' 
It is my prayer that on this Christmas day we might all find room in our lives for the message of the angels and for the love of God through Christ our Lord."
So, Happy Jubilee Queenie! You deserve all the pomp and ceremony. May you continue another decade, and if you don’t, I hope old Charlie will do half as good a job as you have over the years!