A red letter day: part two of a right royal week
Now, where was I? Oh yes, a week with royalty. It was, ahem, three weeks ago now, but on we go, tra la. The next bits are all about our younger son.
Well. It was the royal wedding that started it really. One look at Kate Middleton in that ravishing lace dress and younger son fell madly in love with her and with the British monarchy. The horses and golden coaches and soldiers in scarlet helped. When he’s not dressed up as a pirate captain, then, he is often to be found parading about in a crown from Legoland and his red Superman cloak, ‘being king’. (Sometimes he’s a pirate king, of course: we can never avoid the piratical urges for long, even for the sake of the Duchess of Cambridge.)
So it was no great surprise that, as the Diamond Jubilee weekend approached and the excitement mounted in the media, our little monarchist should have decided to take an active part in the celebrations. I did play a part in inspiring him, by explaining how special it was that our Queen has reigned for sixty years, only the second monarch in the history of the British Isles to have reigned for so long. She was Queen when he was born; she was Queen when his mother was born; she was crowned when his granny was a teenage Girl Guide, standing in the rain, struggling to catch a glimpse of the coronation coach between the shoulders of the tall bearskin-hatted guardsmen lining the route to Westminster Abbey. It feels to us as if Queen Elizabeth has always been there, the steady hand on the tiller of the ship of state. We will not see another Diamond Jubilee of a British monarch in our lifetimes.
‘I’m going to make her a Happy Jubilee card’, announced younger son.
‘dear her maJesty,’ he wrote inside, ‘HAppy DIAMOND JUBILee! P.S. my parents come to your parties.’
He addressed the envelope to ‘Her MaJesTy the Queen, Buckingham Palece, London’ and covered it in stickers which he thought would cheer the Queen: rainbows, sparkly butterflies and Peter Rabbit.
Into the post box it went, and we thought little more about it. The jolly celebrations of the Jubilee weekend came and went. A month later, the Queen came to Scotland and it was time for the Garden Party at Holyrood. Younger son was thrilled at the idea of his mummy and daddy having tea with the Queen, and listened avidly to our descriptions at bedtime that night. He must have drifted off to sleep thinking about it all; crowns, queens and palaces.
And it was the very next morning that the postie delivered a letter for our six year old son, postmarked Buckingham Palace.
Wee boy’s eyes opened wider than I’ve ever seen them. He sat down, holding the envelope, staring and staring at the postmark.
‘Are you going to open it?’ we prompted.
Inside was a card. A gold embossed cover opened out to a triptych, with photographs of the Queen on each side of a printed message of thanks.
To a six year old, this was as good as if Her Majesty had sat down at her desk and written to him by hand. I have never seen him so overcome. He seemed to be swelling up like a balloon, filled with inexpressible emotions, until the pressure was too much and he deflated backwards onto the window-seat with a dazed expression and a beatific smile.
Staff at the palace must be stuffing envelopes with these cards from morning to night this summer – and they made this wee boy’s year.
And two days later, the Queen came to visit our local town. So what do you suppose we did? I’ll tell you in the next post.