It was the Autumn of 2015 and I was zooming down the side of St James’ park, on my usual commute-route home. All of a sudden there appeared a commotion up ahead. Cars stopped, guards materialised, and two young American girls began running along the pavement screaming at the top of their lungs: “Aaaaaaahhh maaaaayyyy Gaaaaaaad!!!! It’s her! It’s really herrrr!”. Intrigued by their excitement, I pulled alongside them at the entrance to Green Park, expecting perhaps to see Taylor ‘Tay-Tay’ Swift, Rhi Rhi, or even Beyoncé.
And then there she was. Like a china doll, beautifully dressed, perfectly poised, encased in a glass-topped limo, and waving. Of course she was waving. It was then that I realised I had never actually seen the Queen in the flesh before. To me, she was like the Golden Gate Bridge. Something I’d seen so many times on the tele-box, that I’d become blasé about. And, just like the first time I saw the Golden Gate Bridge furreal on my 50 state cycle, upon clapping eyes on Queenie – my heart skipped a beat. Only, with the Queen it was different, the wonder at seeing her in the flesh was coupled with a real sense of national pride. One I never knew I had until that moment. Continue reading