On February 6th 2012, Britain awoke to the grip of severely bad weather. The snow and ice had grounded planes in several airports, including Heathrow. Major motorways seemed just like car-parks, as people waited stationary or maneuvered past abandoned vehicles.
For many, the big issue was how they would get to work, or if it wasn't better to simply stay indoors. Winter was back with a vengeance.
But it was also a great day for patriotism. Those with Royalist fervor could note with glee that their Queen had been on the throne for six decades; and she was still going strong.
Queen Elizabeth II spent most of the day at Sandringham Palace with members of her family. Traditionally, she doesn't emerge on her Accession Day, but she made an exception this year. She visited Dersingham Infants and Nursery School, in nearby King's Lynn, where she met the children and inspected a montage of newspaper print-outs about her Coronation.
In return, the little ones performed a concert, which included Let's Do The Time Warp Again from the musical Rocky Horror Picture Show.
There was also a trip to King's Lynn Town Hall, where Mayor Colin Sampson gave an address thanking the Queen for her dedication as monarch. Queen Elizabeth II then mingled with the crowd outside.
She also had been spotted in public the day before, when she was filmed attending the local West Newton Church. After the service, she met well-wishers at the church gates, receiving flowers and other small gifts.
This wasn't a grand affair. That will come later in the year, with a whole calendar worth of events to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. While everyone else views the actual date as Accession Day, the Royal Family have a more personal, sadder anniversary to contemplate.
February 6th is not only the day that Queen Elizabeth II took the throne. It was also when her father, George VI, died.
It's difficult to imagine the enormity of emotion that must have swamped the Queen in 1952. She had to simultaneously assimilate the facts that she had lost a parent and gained the crown of several countries.
Elizabeth wasn't even at home. Her father had waved her off at the airport, less than a week before. She was miles away in Kenya, when her husband, Prince Philip, received and then broke the news to her.
She has said since that she never sees February 6th as a day of celebration for her crown, but a day of mourning for her father.
LOL! Really? That's a funny coincidence. I wonder if she knows? *giggling*
There's a silly irony in the choice of song sung to the queen by the kiddos...When asked how he came about the voice of Dr. Frankenfurter, Tim Curry said, "it's a mix of my mother and the Queen." his mum was thrilled, no report on how the Queen felt about it ;) This is from an old NPR interview with him.
Thank you, Kate. You have just encapsulated in a nutshell my exact thoughts on the matter.
It's a little like standing in front of an historic building in danger of demolition. Only this time, the bricks and mortar are living people. It doesn't mesh with my politics at all, but my historian senses are tingling!
I think it's such a strange position for anyone to be in. Being born into a position that relies on a parent's death for promotion. It's cruel in a way.
I love the whole history aspect of it. The fact that you could know for certain so much about your ancestors fills me with joy.
Is the royal family value for money? I keep seeing figures that suggest they're great for the economy, but I'm not convinced about how independent or objective those figures are.
Politically, I'm completely at odds of the idea of an hereditary ruler.
I don't mind Charles too much though. He seemed like he could have been an old hippy, if he'd just been born into a lower class!
While I think she's done a reasonable job, I'm not convinced of the role of the monarchy in modern Britain. I'm not hugely opposed to it, until Charles gets the throne, now that's a scary thought.