I remember the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977. It was my first real awareness of our Royal Family as something different to my own. Kings and queens simply lived in fairy tales before that. I was very young, and there was a party in one of the gardens for the whole street in Aberdeen. An old black and white TV was rigged up in the garden, and we sat around it to watch the procession in London in awe and splendour.
With her Diamond Jubilee to mark 60 years on the throne, our Queen is second only to Queen Victoria, who celebrated her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. With a public build up and tours by other members of the Royal Family in 2012, the official celebrations will be held over the 2nd - 5th June 2012.
Some of our local streets have parties planned, although my own seems to have happily ignored it. Up and down the country, celebrations will be held to mark the occasion. The celebrations will end with a 5th June Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral and the traditional formal carriage procession.
If there's one thing that has to be said about our Royal Family, it is that their matriarch certainly works hard for her country. I'm not particularly royalist, but I have a respect for someone who does a job, and does it well. Perfection doesn't exist in families, so some of the criticisms of how the Royal Family have acted over the years seems more like sour grapes than actual concerns to me.
Our Queen and her family are the highest ranking celebrities we have. I feel that some of our Royal Family bring quality and authenticity to our country, as a nation with a figurehead who is deeply respected. She brings pride, visitors, and jobs through tourism for our people. That can only be a good thing.
As a young child of about 10ish, many years ago, I was sneaked aboard a ship by a friend of my mother to watch the royal party as they were touring the harbour in Aberdeen. Looking through the window with binoculars, I spotted a woman who looked like my grandmother in the ship opposite and waved to her. She waved back and I thought no more about it.
Pomp and ceremony seemed to be in the planning as crowds of people were arriving for whatever reason the royal party were in our little city. Jumping around and wanting to be in time to get a burger, I whinged and whined until we headed back to the gangplank.
It took a very long thirty minutes to get back down the gangplank. At the bottom, I turned the wrong way. I found myself face to face with the small and pleasantly smiling woman who resembled my grandmother, and narrowly missed bumping into her. I gave her a smile. A second wave of the day occurred, and I happily skipped my way back to where I was supposed to be.
I hadn't paid much attention to the nice woman as my stomach was growling so much. It wasn't until I saw her walking down between two lines of ropes that I realised this was no ordinary woman. With the awe that only a young child can feel, I felt overwhelmed by my very near miss and gaily proceeded to annoy everyone close to me by announcing my indiscretion to the public.
Tears of unreasonable pride and happiness stung my eyes. My respect for the Queen, who I will always remember as that nice little lady who looked like my grandmother, was formed. I'll happily watch the procession and join in the chat and events to celebrate her long reign over us.