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Open Features: God Save Our Gracious Queen

"I am proud to be British, English and Yorkshire born,'' declares Shirley Stow.

I have been a patriotic royalist for as long as I can remember. This is possibly because I was brought up during World War II. In those days everyone stood for the National Anthem, which was always played at the beginning, or sometimes at the end of a show or important sporting event. Unlike today, everyone knew and sang all the words. It is a shame that we see talented and revered footballers looking embarrassingly at the floor when the National Anthem is played.

On holiday in the US, before one of the Disney World theme parks opened its gates to visitors, the Star Spangled Banner was played and everyone stood erect, fist to heart, and sang. There was a lump in my throat as I stood too, respecting this special moment.

Whilst I was in Mara in East Africa we visited schools and witnessed their national being raised and the children and staff proudly singing Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika – Lord bless Africa. It was reminiscent for me, looking back over my Guiding days, when the Union Jack was raised and lowered at each meeting and at camp, and we all sang the National Anthem. Do children today know the words of our National Anthem I wonder? No matter what faith, creed or none, I feel every British citizen should show allegiance to the Queen and respect the National Anthem.

Many national anthems seek to honour the country and there are suggestions that ours should be changed. I think if this idea was to be adopted, it would be best left until we have a new King. I am proud to be British, English and Yorkshire born but if I should emigrate and become a naturalised citizen of another country, I should be loyal to that country’s principles and ideals but would wish to keep my faith and remember my roots.

Being a Royalist, I think our country and commonwealth have been blessed with Elizabeth II as our Queen. In our history we have had good and bad kings and queens, as there are good and bad people in all walks of life. The Queen has coped better than most in her changing role, of remote royalty to the reality of her family stepping out of her ‘comfort’ or protected zone to mix with commoners. Traditionalists feel that royalty should remain in the background and only surface for ceremonial and PR visits, and marry within the royal circles. Through the media we have witnessed the sadness and tragedies she has faced in her changing personal life. How awful for us if we were to experience seeing our family crises thrust into the public eye. She has coped with dignity, but behind the scenes I suspect she has suffered like any of us when our children make mistakes or are hurt.

We learn that the queen researches each duty she has to undertake. She may be looked after in personal needs but she must have made terrific sacrifices to carry out her job, with I suspect, a deep trust in her Christian faith to sustain her.
I hope when she witnessed her subjects joyfully coming together for the Jubilee Concert and River Pageant, she felt a glow of satisfaction of a job well done!

I hope too that those of us lucky enough to share the Jubilee celebrations with family, friends and neighbours in parties and jolly get-togethers, realise how fortunate we have been to have such a dedicated sovereign for sixty years.

Bhumibol Adulyadej, known as Rama IX, is the King of Thailand. He has reigned since 9th June 1946, and is the world's longest serving current head of state and the longest serving monarch in Thai history. He is greatly revered and has made several decisive interventions in the Thai political sphere. (see Wikepedia). Some people hold the view that we do not need a King or Queen. However, when I look at the countries whose head of state constantly changes through elections, or those who have dictators who are responsible for the loss of many lives and who rule with an arm of fear, I feel quietly secure in the fact that we have a democracy, Christian based, which hopefully will not be breached by others who may seek to destroy our ideals.

Long Live the Queen.


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