When I was visiting family for a few weeks in the US, way back in 2002, I remember some hick (sorry – but he was) shouting at me because the UK has a monarchy (see – told you he was a hick).
At the time, I was still a teenager and genuinely didn’t give a toss about the monarchy. I was more interested in my friends, my social life, my family and the boy back home I was engaged to. I suppose in a nutshell – I had what I thought were more important things to busy myself with.
I walked away from that weirdo thinking he was a complete nutter (and to be fair, I still agree with that conclusion) and it bothered me no further, other than serving as a humorous anecdote for when I got home.
Thing is, I am not a teenager anymore (sadly!).
I have developed a keen interest in history and cultural identity within my country. Our past, our history, from the first upright apes with opposable thumbs, swinging through what is now Chipping Norton, searching for dinner; to the present day slightly less hairy homo-sapiens face-palming their way through daily life, we have always had a deep, thick history.
As a kid, my favourite period in history was the classical periods – I even went as far as doing a GCSE in Classical Civilisation (think the Aeneid/Troy, Roman Bath Houses, Pompeii and so on). I was fascinated in the origins of our civility and our barbarism. I liked to peer into the past and see the very genesis of erudition and politics. How is that not incredible?
I’ve always had an interest in our historic sites too, such as stone circles, our Roman walls in Chester, York and Hadrian’s Wall. I loved the romance of our mediaeval castles, towers and walls – the evidence of the instigation of the Plantagenet period onwards.
With that love, which has now developed into a neat little pocket of adoration in my mind, certainly around the late Plantagenet period.
The thing with our monarchy is, it reaches back through time. It is one long and occasionally convoluted blood time with each dynasty and house with their own tales to tell.
They are the reminders of that depth, that richness in our heritage. They are the representatives of our country and our values and I love that.
Does anyone truly believe that monarchy is out dated? That that thick slab of history can be ignored? Would we be so very noticeable on the world stage without our traditions, our history, our Royalty? No.
That hick told me there was no point in having a monarchy and how it was old fashioned and subversive. I say they help define us.
Another thing – if we didn’t have our monarchy, there will still be someone living in that big shiny palace in London, except they won’t be a king or queen. They will be a president.
Having a family that have stood with us in war and misery and uphold our traditions (well, most of them. Most of the time.) is vastly more important that having an elected figurehead. Geez, America has seemingly gone out of its way to prove any idiot can hold that position. If that is what they believe makes a head of state, then I am extremely relieved and happy that the House of Windsor is ours. Seriously.
Our Queen is making history with each day of her reign. She cares about her country and she loves her family. The tabloid press has ensured that we know all about her familial struggles, tragedies and issues – all played out for the world to know. She has always tried to do what she thought was best and it is an impossible job. She exerts both wisdom and dignity, even when there are times I’m sure she finds it hard.
So when anyone says they don’t understand our love for and admiration of our royal family, I say… I don’t care. I don’t care what anyone thinks about them, good or bad. I know what they mean to me and I am so proud. If they cannot see that or comprehend it, then they haven’t witnessed it like I have.
With the wedding of Prince Harry to his fiancée Meghan in a couple of days, I have to say I am so proud and pleased for them. I grew up at the same time as Princes William and Harry and watched them grow up alongside me, albeit via the media. So for me, for those my/ our age, it is also a celebration.
I will always love and be proud of my country, its history (good and bad) and I will always love our royalty as a part of our history – the very strata of our British inheritance. So any hick wanting to rant at me about my countries royalty – I have a mid-digit for you to swivel on, buddy.
Congratulations Harry and Meghan!