Thursday, 5 April 2012

Hooray Jubolympics

The BBC2 programme “Twenty Twelve”, in its new series will be doing one around a marketing concept called the “Jubolympics” which promises to be fun.  Given what this programme has given us before it ought to be well worth watching.

That the 60th anniversary year of Her Majesty's reign also has the Olympic Games makes me wonder just how much contact have we had with the Royal Family one way or another down the years.

It is not much at all, so like the great majority of the population we have had to rely on the media for any impressions we have with a smattering of written material were we to have had the interest in reading it.  To which the answer is “no”.

My first encounter with Royalty, according to a reliable source, namely my Mum was in 1937 when they attended the Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree (picture above) won by a horse called “Royal Mail”. 

We were in Melling by the course at the time and had been tipped off by the local police officer that King George VI and Queen Elizabeth would be passing the house.

So I was dragged out, given a flag made from a broom handle and coloured paper to wave and told to stay out of the gutter.  I have no memory of this, but as we were said to be the only ones at that point I am told we got a lovely wave from Queen Elizabeth.

After the war both my wife and I in our different towns were herded out when the King and Queen were doing tours around the land.  Amongst large numbers of other puzzled youngsters we watched an open topped car go whizzing past with a splash of colour in the back and that was it.

Later, I did an Army parade at which the Duke of Gloucester was taking the salute.  He had seen it all before.  But I swear that when my lot went slouching past he winced.  My wife five or so years on was amongst a bevy of young ladies inspected by Marina, the Duchess of Kent.

As she was butchering a lamb as a demonstration of her skills the Duchess moved on quickly.  We suspect she was more used to young ladies who were trying to be like the Debutantes of the period.

There isn’t much else.  One weekend I was lumbered with a Conference at which the Duke of Edinburgh gave the key note speech.  This was around the mid 1970’s and he was urging us all on to great productivity to restore the economy, or something.

After lunch my group decided to head off for Highbury as Arsenal were at home and later found a pub in Fitzrovia with a free darts board for the evening, skipping the rest of the Conference.  The Duke, apparently, went off to a State occasion for a tyrant who was anxious to stock up on armaments.

I had to do notes of the sessions for the record but just submitted some inventive material based on the jargon of the day which one critic said was better than the official record, supposing I had actually attended those in question.

In the early 1990’s looking for somewhere to eat in Windsor we found our way blocked by a mob of Scouts and Guides evidently organised by some big bloke waving his arm about in a form of salute.

After complaining to one of the coppers about this I was told firmly that it was Prince Andrew who was attending a parade of young people drawn from around the nation who had done something useful in their communities. 

Luckily there was a fish and chip shop nearby so we settled for that.  They were quite good so this is the only real occasion that the Royal Family has had a direct positive impact on our lives.

If I were to complain about the Royal Family perhaps first it might be a good idea to work out who might have been appointed or elected as an Honorary President of the Republic of the United Kingdom.  When looking at the possibilities a shudder runs down the spine.

Be careful what you wish for.


  1. Oh I do, Demetrius, I really do. Still seems I get the very essence of that which I would not wish!

  2. "Be careful what you wish for."

    I am. I'm no monarchist, but very wary of the alternatives.