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Many felicitations, Ma'am.

Today would appear to be the Queen's birthday. That's as in her actual birthday, not her official birthday, which is celebrated in June.

I know this because the very first thing I heard, groggily, this morning when Radio 4 came on was an announcement to this effect, followed by the National Anthem. It's lucky I don't belong to that ever-diminishing group of people who believe you must stand up when the anthem is played, no matter what the circumstances, or it would have been a very rude awakening indeed. Instead, I was able to continue my usual morning habit of lying prone, groaning mildly, and trying to summon up the energy to lean over and switch on the light.

But I love that I live in a nation where we still mark such occasions with national radio broadcasts. The day would probably have passed me by if we didn't. Yet, since we do, I can now count my experience of this event as something I have in common with all the other citizens of the UK (and indeed commonwealth) today: or at least, those that know about it.

I believe I'll always be a royalist, despite my otherwise left-wing liberal tendencies, precisely because I see the creation of a sense of communal identity through rituals such as this as a positive thing. It's what always makes me fascinated by 'big' funerals, such as Princess Diana's, the Queen Mother's, and, even, the Pope (although I'm certainly not a Catholic). Clearly there have to be caveats, since the same sorts of rituals can also be used to promote abusive power-structures and feelings of extreme nationalism. But at the right level I am all for them: after all, we are social beings, and I like to be given a sense that I have something in common with others.

Meanwhile, I also find through a bit of Googling about the event that the broadcast of the National Anthem on such occasions has caused Radio 4 some heartache in the past (1998). I love that I live in a nation where we consider such things worth agonising over, too.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 21st, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
Although I agree with what you say re:monarchy, I don't have the time to elaborate on it, but it's nice to see a shared opinion!
Apr. 21st, 2005 02:47 pm (UTC)
Yes, indeed. I'm not sure whether to attribute the total silence of the rest of my friends list in response to this post to shock, neutrality or their just not having read it yet: but it is nice to hear that someone feels the same, anyway!
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 21st, 2005 06:43 pm (UTC)
* hearts you *
May. 17th, 2005 09:09 pm (UTC)
National Anthem
Hi Penny it's Amy here,

Just thought you might like to know that I listened to the National Anthem whilst in labour with Holly! They didn't have a TV in the delivery suite, and I didn't want music on (as it would have annoyed me) so I made the nurse put on Radio 4. Anyway halfway through the evening they did a programme on the Diaries of George V and they played the National Anthem at the end! In my drug-induced state I found it very bizarre!

I didn't stand up though ;)
May. 17th, 2005 09:15 pm (UTC)
Re: National Anthem
What an entrance into the world for Holly! I wonder if it's an omen that she will go on to marry a member of the Royal family?

And I am now chuckling at the thought of mothers in the middle of delivery struggling to their feet at the sound of the National Anthem!
May. 24th, 2005 10:35 pm (UTC)
Re: National Anthem
Hehe! I certainly didn't get up. Although in my drug-induced state I might have saluted.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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