|Photo By DAVID MOIR/REUTERS|
Even if you’re not British you probably can’t have helped noticing that it is the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations at the moment – I’m sure highlights of the various events have been screened around the world…
Sixty years on the throne! – She’s only the second Monarch in British history to have achieved such a long reign (Queen Victoria being the other one at 63 years). As you can imagine Britain is feeling pretty patriotic at the moment – lots of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘God Save the Queen’ being sung and the Union Flag being flown and waved around on every street. There have been thousands of street parties and over 4000 beacons lit and that’s just in the UK. Celebrations have gone on around the Commonwealth too – she is their Queen too, after all.
The Queen is a very special person. Even if you are not a monarchist you have to accept that as a woman the Queen is an exceptional person. She has devoted herself tirelessly to serve the people of the UK and Commonwealth. The Queen is now 86 and yet she still carries out around 430 engagements a year. She has an amazing work ethic don’t you think? For most of these she is accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh who is nearly 91!
She is a constant presence in an ever changing world – an anchor, a link to our past. She has witnessed many Heads of State from other countries come and go with repeated regularity. She has given wise counsel to many a British Prime Minister. She reminds us what it means to be British.
I also think she could teach us a thing or two about budo!
Let’s take this weekend’s celebrations as an example….. On Saturday we had the Pageant on the Thames. A flotilla of a thousand boats sailed down the Thames which took about 4 hours. The Queen and her family witnessed the event from the Royal Barge. They stood for the entire time to watch the event, with only a flimsy roof to shield them from the elements. They must have been freezing yet they didn’t flinch from their duty to watch every single boat go past. People had sailed from all over the world to be part of the pageant and they didn’t want to let her down and the Queen certainly wasn’t going to let them down by not watching just because it was cold, windy and raining! They couldn’t even take a loo break which isn’t easy for a couple aged 86 and 91! (Unfortunately that is probably the reason that the Duke was hospitalised with a bladder infection the next day). The Queen remained upright, stoical and interested throughout the whole pageant.
If that wasn’t a display of shugyo I don’t know what is!
The Queen displays many of the characteristics you would expect to see in someone who has practiced budo all their lives – she is physically strong for her age, she is focussed on her work, devoted to her family, she shows humility and compassion, she is knowledgeable and wise, calm and stoical, trustworthy and respectful of others….the list goes on. Her life has been one of perseverance and selfless endeavour. She even stayed calm and de-escalated the situation when an intruder broke into her bedroom at Buckingham Palace in 1982!
I think the Queen is a woman to be admired and the British Monarchy an institution to be envied. Nowhere else has what we have here in Britain, we would be mad to get rid of it. I have no truck with the tiny republican movement we have in this country. There have been a couple of small republican protests during this weekend of celebrations (after all it is a free country). Guess where they held their protest – outside Traitors gate!
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