By all accounts, it seems that we may have foolishly brushed aside the concert as not being our sort of music and in doing so acted precipitously. Most of the reports that we have subsequently heard about the concert were laudatory.
I am so glad that we tuned in to watch the service at Saint Pauls Cathedral to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee. It was a magnificent affair preceded by more ceremonials and music in Westminster Great Hall. The Royal family travelled in closed cars (presumably due to the inclement weather) but returned to Buckingham Palace in open carriages. I have no idea how many people were jammed in the entire length of Birdcage walk (the road immediately in front of Buckingham Palace, leading in the distance to Admiralty Arch) and the roads fronting surrounding Buckingham Palace but I would not be surprised if it nudged 1 million. (I have subsequently heard that a number exceeded 1 ½. Million). Miles and Kimberly attempted to join the crowds around Buckingham Palace but were not able to get any closer than Victoria station. We were very impressed to see that families with pushchairs, babies and small children, comfortably moving towards the Palace when the police allowed the crowds who had previously lined the route, to move closer. A real demonstration of correct crowd control.
There was the usual balcony appearance of the Queen; Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William and Kate; and Prince Harry if the Queen had any doubt at all about her popularity it should have been blown away by the roar that met her when the balcony doors were opened. With the immaculate timing that we have come to expect. There was the usual fly past led by a Lancaster bomber and two out riders and other aircraft, which featured in the last war; hurricanes Spitfires and Wellington bombers. The fly past finished spectacularly with the Red Arrows display team leaving a perfect slipstream of red, white and blue over Buckingham Palace.
There was one noticeable absentee from or all the ceremonials and in particular the balcony scene, and that was the Duke of Edinburgh other members of the Royal family were also noticeably absent; Prince Edward, for example. It seems, from subsequent reports that they had been visiting their father, Prince Philip, who, it is reported, is making good progress to recovery.
There was a rather grand lunch laid on, as I understood it, for younger people from the various city livery companies and I was delighted to learn that our very own Hew Dundas, vice president of the Arbitration Club, in his capacity as Master of the Arbitrators Livery was not only invited but had the honour to be seated next to Prince William. Good old Hew. He very decently sent us a copy of the press release, I’m sure not to make us jealous but to share with us the excitement of the occasion.
The Queen will dine at Westminster Hall at a celebratory Diamond Jubilee lunch hosted by the Livery.
Some 700 guests representing the companies’ abundant trades and professions, ranging from grocers and gunmakers to fruiterers and fishmongers, will join the Queen for the tribute.
The Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will also attend the meal.
William will be placed at the Engineers and Arbitrators table
while Kate will be joined by the Master Glovers and Patternmakers.
Harry will be on the Fruiterers and Gardeners table.
Among the vast range of participating Livery companies are the Worshipful Companies of Goldsmiths, Butchers, Innholders, Weavers, Distillers, Clockmakers and even Tax Advisers.
Guests will dine on marinated Uist Island salmon with Lyme Bay crab, followed by saddle of Welsh Cambrian Mountain lamb with braised shoulder of lamb, grilled Isle of Wight asparagus, Jersey Royal potatoes and an aptly named Jubilee sauce. The “symphony of dessert” is chocolate delice, bread and butter pudding and berry compote with Sandringham apple sauce.
A Ceylon tea will also be served made from a bush planted by the Duke of Edinburgh during a state visit to Sri Lanka in 1954 in the Pedro Tea Plantation in Nuwara Eliya.
The National Children’s Orchestra of Great Britain will perform during the event, while the House of Commons’ speaker John Bercow will say grace and the loyal toast will be proposed by the Lord Speaker Baroness D’Souza.
The Livery Companies of the City of London originated in medieval times as Guilds responsible for trade regulation, including checking the quality of goods, weights and measures and training. Today the companies use their funds to undertake charitable and community work.
The BBC will be televising this event live (excluding the actual Luncheon itself)
As Master Arbitrator, I and my colleague will be hosting Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge.
Following the conclusion of the lunch the diminished Royal family and drove back to Buckingham Palace, in some magnificent open carriages, before presenting themselves on balcony. Add the Queen the slightest reservations about her popularity. This certainly would have been dissipated by the roar of one and a half million loyal subjects, on her appearance.
To us, television watchers, like so many other less mobile subjects, this marked the end of four days of celebration, the like of which I doubt, will ever be seen again. I am equally convinced that the outcome of all of the events that went to make up this very special celebration had the effect of strengthening the ties between the indigenous population and the tens of thousands of newcomers who will now be proud to say, I am British.