Monday, 19th September 2022, was a very personal day for Dr C and myself. It was a very personal day for everyone in the United Kingdom, in fact it was a very personal day for everyone on the planet. Nobody who was alive on this day will have been untouched by or not known that it was THE Queen’s funeral, will not have seen one or many images of the day whether you are British or not, a monarchist or not, anti British or not.
At some point across the day something will have “touched” you, an image, a sound, some words, an act. It will have made you stop and think, no matter what it was nor who you are. What it made you think I have no idea, positive or negative, good or bad, sad, happy, angry ……
The defining moment for me occurred at some time around 10.15am in London and 5.15am in Dayton Ohio where my daughter was just awake after her previous days flight for a weeks work there. The Queens coffin had been placed on the gun carriage by the eight Grenadier Guards in their full dress tunics of red, the Royal Navy escort stood front and rear in their classic blue uniforms. All done in silence and in dignified movements.
And then ….. it was as if someone flicked a switch, commentary on tv stopped, a command was barked out by a Guardsman and the silence was broken by the Queens pipe band of Scots Guards led by Drum Major Allan Campbell, and everything moved in complete unison. This was my moment of the day, I really cracked up at this sight and the sound of those pipes, so did my daughter 3000 miles away as she texted me at that instant with “Bloody hell dad this is emotional!”. I’m cracking now as I write this!
My wife and I watched the whole event on tv from 10am to 8pm, only punctuated by tea breaks, toilet breaks and a late lunch prepared and eaten in dribs and drabs. In our hearts and minds we were there, in Westminster Abbey for the funeral service, that great edifice created by Edward The Confessor, developed further by William The Conqueror, and then later in the 19th Century. We were there for that historic procession from Westminster, around Parliament Square, down The Mall to Buckingham Palace and on to Wellington Arch. We were there for the entry to Windsor Castle and the final act in the chapel.
Across the day, and now a couple of days later, I have had many thoughts about the events of the past week or so since the Queens death. Specifically, they are private thoughts I will keep to myself and my family, but generally they are thoughts about culture, history, identity, and politics. They are also thoughts about our nation, our society and our future direction, a direction that may yet come to be defined by 19th September 2022. This was a day in which the latent togetherness, organisation and skill of our people was demonstrated, so I end with this message for our politicians who seem to have been on holiday for a month …… “stop your petty squabbling, stop fiddling while “Rome burns”, get off your arses and sort this country out”.