Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee
On Sunday we shall watch the Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames via the small screen. Monday, some of our neighbours are erecting a marquee in an area we call the 'the wilderness' where we shall have BBQs set up. Everyone will bring a plate of food and a bottle of wine/champagne to share. There will be games and prizes for the children.
A new stretch of our local canal has just been restored and will be open for the first time over the weekend. There will be about 40 narrow boats on the water, a band playing and lots of festivities going on.
Instead of purchasing a Jubilee tea-towel, mug or similar souvenir, how about having a 'right royal read'.
This book sounds a well-informed illustrated history, decade by decade over 60 years. The thing that sounds interesting to me is that it is stuffed with envelopes containing facsimile royal documents, fashion drawings, maps of royal tours, banquet menus and even the Queen's recipe for the pancakes that delighted President Eisenhower - a fun interactive book for children, and a bit of nostalgia for the grown-ups.
This book commemorates 60 years of great state occasions and personal family events. The clockwork mechanism of the Queen's routine. Television appearances to portraits and photographs, from clothes and jewels to her enduring love of dogs and horses.
Sally Bedell Smith delivers a much deeper portrait of a monarch we recognise instantly as an iconic public figure and of a private women about whom we know very little. This well researched biography is delightfully witty and intelligently insightful. It is a tribute to the achievements of the Queen who has reigned through challenging and changing times.
Finally Jubilee Lines edited by poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy crowns a celebratory year, full of fanfare and folderol, with lovely unfurling newly commissioned poems. There is one for every year from 1952 - 2012 by poets young and old who report on the life of the nation with joy, generosity, humour and love.
|courtesy of the Royal Collection Trust|
Queen Victoria on her Coronation Day
One of my special blog friends Kate told her followers that Queen Victoria's Diaries are now online courtesy of the present Queen. You can read them here but it is only for a short while. From July 2012, the diaries will be available only to those in the UK, and to specific libraries elsewhere. Kate said, these diaries are historical gold dust. They have only been available to a chosen few academics for a very long time. Unless you live in the UK, you have a month to read the diaries of the lady who gave her name to the Victoria era.