Friday, May 4, 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee

This year people from around the world, but most especially those of us who have close ties to the British Commonwealth, will be celebrating Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee. Yes, the Queen came to the throne on 6 February 1952 at the age of twenty-five, and her coronation took place on 2 June 1953.
To mark the Jubilee here in Canada we are expecting a visit from The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.
While on a visit to Queen’s Park in Toronto this March I received my ER II lapel pin which I wear to work everyday.
Queen Elizabeth II is not the first British Monarch to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. Back in 1897, Queen Victoria (whose birthday we celebrate here in Canada in the month of May) celebrated her Diamond Jubilee.

 1897 just happens to be the year that The Canadian Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is set, and I felt I had to mention the event in the chapter entitled The Weeping Madonna. An earlier chapter has Holmes and Watson in the service of none other than Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier. In The Weeping Madonna, Holmes and Watson pay a visit to Laurier after he has returned from England where he attended the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Prime Minister Laurier describes London:
"A great city," he declared. "But not as I pictured it. I went expecting to see a typically British city and found it full of strange faces from around the world. Assembled there were the troops of the colonies dressed in their native garb. They seemed so out of place in all that Englishness. The entire town did not seem itself. It was scrubbed clean and the streets were choked with traffic. Crowds stood atop unsightly and shaky scaffolds and people hung out of windows. The Jubilee was scheduled for June 22nd, and the day before I was knighted by the Queen. The morning of the Jubilee was overcast as the procession lined up along the Victoria Embankment. Fifty thousand service men lined along both sides of the six-mile route, and, as a bugle sounded at eight o'clock, the sun shone through the clouds as if by Royal command, and the procession began. The Colonial Procession was magnificent, premiers accompanied by their troops and bands from all over the world. There were the Zaptiehs of Cypress, the Dyaks of Borneo, bearded, turbaned Sikhs, pigtailed Chinese from Hong Kong, Maltese, Singhalese, and Malays. Men from the islands, deserts, and jungles. We filed up the length of the Mall in just under an hour and into a cleared square before the gates of Buckingham Palace, and filed down the length of Constitution Hill. We stopped before the entrance to St. Paul's and we premiers stepped down from our carriages and sat under a vast canopied pavilion where we observed the approach of the Royal Procession. The Queen arrived to the deafening cheers of the crowd. There was a short ceremony followed by the blast of the big guns and the procession moved on again.
    "I must confess, gentlemen, the entire experience was the proudest time in my life. To think that a Canadian of French decent offered the  principles of freedom in the parliament of Great Britain.”

The Canadian Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is now available on Kindle.

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