I hadn't really done it deliberately, but I realized on Sunday morning that I seem to be having a "royal weekend." With nothing really interesting on normal television, I checked OnDemand and decided to watch Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth, about the early days of Elizabeth I. Later on, I watched Wallis and Edward and then got up this morning to watch the flotilla of 1,000 ships along the Thames to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Jubilee. I figure if I can find Mrs Brown and The King's Speech it would make it perfect.
I don't necessarily consider myself a "royal watcher" (couldn't care less what William and Kate are wearing today), but this was an historic event--the celebration of the queen's 60th anniversary. Only Queen Victoria has reigned longer, and if Elizabeth lives 3 more years, she can take the title of longest reigning British monarch.
When I got up this morning, coverage of the incredible flotilla down the Thames was already underway, so I missed the takeoff, with the royal barge leading the way and boats of all shapes and sizes following along in a parade down to Tower Bridge.
They came in groups, the little boats and the canal boats and the working boats and ending with the boats that give tours on the river. It almost looked like a naval battle, except that some heads were wearing sunflower bonnets and some were dressed as Robin Hood, and all were smiling broadly.
It was explained that the water was being controlled at the Thames barrier (which we have visited) so that the the level didn't get too high and boats could more easily navigate the river.
There were incredible moments, like when they passed the National Theatre, which had flags and banners and all sorts of magical things raising and lowering in salute of the queen, ending with Joey, the mechanical horse from Warhorse run down a ramp and rear up in salute to the queen.
Another building had a whole bunch of folks on the roof doing semiphore signals with huge flags.
For a good part of the parade, it was overcast and they hoped that the rain would not come. But, this being London, it did and it absolutely poured, which prevented the fly-over of planes that was to have taken place when the queen's barge reached Tower Bridge--the "wow moment," they were calling it--but the London Philharmonic under cover on their boat did carry on gamely and played an amazing rendition of "Pomp and Circumstance" (or "Land of Hope and Glory") which singers, dripping wet sang enthusiastically from the top of the boat. They followed that with a hornpipe and I had to grin at all the members of the royal family bouncing up and down to the tune. By the time they got to "God Save the Queen" I was in tears. I didn't need any bigger "wow moment."
As for the Queen, she was amazing. The woman is 86 years old, the ceremony was about 4 hours long (or more) and that old broad stood the entire time, smiling and waving.
I can't even stand for 10 minutes in a museum listening to a description of a painting, or talking to someone at a party without looking for somwhere to sit down. But I guess after 60 years of ceremonies, the woman must have legs and hips of steel.
I asked on "That's My Answer" the other day if anyone was going to be watching coverage of the Queen's Jubilee. There was only one answer, and it was a decided "NO." Too bad. This was a never to be seen again in my lifetime event and I wouldn't have missed it.
Nor, it appears, would most other people!