Queen Elizabeth II and her Platinum Jubilee
A different kind of travelogue
The Queen is celebrating, and so is a whole country – hip hip hooray!
You shouldn't forget at this point that we're talking about English people here, so when I say celebrating, I mean celebrating. Parades, festivals, mega picnics, concerts and the wildest decorations make for a perfect setting and it's almost a cultural must to catch some of it.That's exactly what I want to give you with this blog post;)
I was in Windsor, the Queen's center of life, for a few days. My crime series about Samantha Wilde is set right there, and since Samy is working on a new case, I had to do a little research. I couldn't have chosen a better time for this, because next week is the official jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and I was able to see for myself that the kingdom is well prepared for this monumental event.
"You have to see me to believe it."
(Not) A plea for the monarchy
First of all, however, I would like to make it clear that this article is not a plea for (or against) the Monarchy. I can absolutely understand many arguments for and some against it and would probably be a royalist if I were English. But that's not what this is about, I don't want to start a debate on principle with my article. The question of whether the reign of Queen Elizabeth II and this form of government is the right thing to do is not for me as a "foreigner" and I'd much rather write about the glamour factor that queens and princesses bring;)
With this in mind - put on your crown, grab your handbag and enter the anniversary fray.
What is a Platinum Jubilee???
If you reach this milestone, you have long since left behind the paltry 25 years of a silver honor and the already quite respectable 50 years that earn you a gold sticker. For platinum, you have to do quite a bit more, another 25 years to be exact. For queen Elizabeth II, it means sitting on the throne for 70 years and keeping her people happy for just as long - something no ruler or ruleress has ever managed before.
How could you?
If you didn't already lead a shadowy existence as a child king or queen, 70 years on the throne means that you have long since reached old age. The Queen is, after all, a proud 96 years old. Since 1952, this remarkable woman has been serving her citizens and doing much more than most of us can imagine. The English hold their queen sacred, so it's no surprise that she is celebrated up and down the country.
There are many different ways to do this – let yourself be inspired!
Queen Elizabeth II - how to get from A to B?
Just in time for the throne anniversary a few days ago finally (with a delay of four years) a part of the legendary Elizabeth Line went into operation - the pictures of Queen Elizabeth II Queen Elizabeth II checking the ticket counter at Paddington station for this went around the world. Construction work on one of Europe's largest rail projects had already been underway since 2009, and now shortly before her day of honor, the Queen, who is unfortunately a bit under the weather, was able to put everything into operation. Anyone who has ever been to London knows how important the London Tube is and should definitely check out Crossrail to find out what this new railroad is all about. An absolute must for London fans, the Elizabeth Line will make life in and around the capital massively easier.
I took the train myself and was impressed by the monumental dimensions of the stations, which have become super-modern and incredibly elegant. What's more, they are spotless so soon after opening, no stickers and no graffiti (although I have nothing against either) and, above all, no garbage. Whether in Berlin, Paris, London, or New York, there's always something grungy about underground train stations. But in London, you can still take a deep breath along the new line quite in the style of the Queen on the platforms of the Elizabeth Line;)
I was particularly taken with the jubilee advertisements, which illuminate and decorate everything around the railroad tracks in royal purple. You can see hilarious corgis almost everywhere, saying "Well done, ma'am" appreciatively under their crowns and referring to the throne jubilee. It's worth a ride in the Underground's fancy cars just to see these little guys.
A sea of flags for Queen Elizabeth II
The Union Jack is for me one of the most beautiful flags ever, when you see it in a concentrated load, it gives even the gloomiest rainy day something cheerful. In many streets of the country pennant chains in white, red and blue are stretched from street side to street side. Some of the flags are also adorned with a picture of Queen Elizabeth II or the dates 1952-2022, which flutter cheerfully in the wind. But if you are lucky enough to be walking through London's imposing Oxford or Regent Street right now, you will be overwhelmed by the majestic sight of the large banners, hundreds or even thousands of which dominate the cityscape. Row upon row of them are affixed side by side and one behind the other from one side of the historic buildings to the other, creating a beautiful ensemble that will surely be captured in millions of photos. Social media will love the splendor and I'm sure countless influencer accounts will be flooded with this motif in the coming days - I couldn't help myself on Instagram either.
Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? I say NO
Of course, all tastes are different, and I concede that not everyone must be into kitsch with crowns, but special people and special events require different standards;)
Therefore, my advice to all purists who are currently visiting London - close your eyes and go for it!
To everyone else I say:
DO IT FOR THE GLAM!
There's a little bit of influencer in everyone, and London offers very current backdrops that your followers will love.
For example, most stores have decorated their windows royally and in many places there are life-size cardboard doubles of the Queen around, inviting you to take a picture with her and her dogs. At Daniels department store, flower walls have been installed where you can take a picture of yourself sitting on a bench under a giant LED crown, while elsewhere you can shine side by side with a cardboard Queen Elizabeth II. Quite instagramable like one is politely asked to link his post but please;)
I have to admit that I got carried away with it myself - but whether the shots will make it into my Instagram feed is not yet certain, because it's just damn hard to look halfway good next to an always impeccably styled queen....
Flowers as far as the eye can see
But what images will definitely make it into my feed or here are those of the sensational floral decorations that are currently flooding the English capital. In this context, I think about what I liked best and I came to the conclusion that there can not be this kind of rating - too different are the genres in which you can classify the ephemeral works of art.
Beautiful, fulminant floral swaths, span the entrances of Tiffanys or Cartier colorful and exquisite, while a few meters away the windows of Polo Ralph Lauren are much more urban framed by country house garlands with lots of greenery. Other stores present large boquetes in specially purchased vases that are not only door-high, but also hung with many small pendants in the shape of Queen Elizabeth.
Most impressive, however, are undoubtedly the arrangements I saw in Chelsea - made entirely of flowers, you'll find oversized corgis, soldiers wearing the familiar fur hats, teapots pouring into giant cups, and gigantic silhouettes of the Queen, to name a few.
I can not imagine how many people with dedication, creativity and a lot of time have created all this. But their effort was worth it in any case, because Londoners and tourists are lining up everywhere to take a close look at everything and take photos. If there is ever a coffee-table book about it, I will be the first to get it, and I sincerely hope that one or the other of the palace staff will be out and about in London and the country, capturing the splendor for Queen Elizabeth herself. In any case, I like to imagine the Queen watching on a computer screen in the evening, with a glass of champagne, what her subjects are putting up to honor her.
A little shopping tip for royal fans
But there are other ways of paying tribute - restaurants offer special Platinum Jubilee High Teas and I even witnessed a cake competition in Windsor where pastry chefs outbid each other to create the most accurate likeness of the King. Stores display drawings by children depicting the Queen in various situations, and even serious painters have taken up the theme.
Unfortunately, I was not able to strike at the fantastic paintings that were exhibited in Windsor's galleries. There, works by various artists were offered with the likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, all of which I would have bought. But my husband rightly vetoed the idea, because it would be absurd to buy a new work of art shortly before a move that would entail the dissolution of the entire household. Besides, the prices of £12,500 upwards were beyond my budget, although the paintings were worth every penny. Still, I can't do without "art" altogether, so I bought a beautiful postcard featuring the young Queen and a new ballpoint pen with one of her favorite corgis. Both I can take in case of need in the handbag;)
Those who are not interested in decorations but in the extensive celebration occasions and are still looking for the right party equipment will find a veritable Eldorado at Marks & Spencer. Here one offers from cookies in tins, which are also music boxes, to Jubilee beer and wine to cushions with crown embroidery, whose glittering stones are illuminated thanks to built-in batteries everything that the picnic heart desires - of course in white, red & blue;)
I have renounced beer and wine, and an illuminated pillow I could not foist my husband either. But the music box with cookies I have not let me talk me out, and finally my Prince Consort was quite grateful for the delicious shortbread in it.
On that note, I raise my glass of non-alcoholic gin and say GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!