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60 years of change

In the Queen’s Golden Jubilee year Sreela Banerjee considers just ten of the myriad new phrases which Queen Elizabeth (along with all her subjects) has had to learn in her 60 years of reign, whilst waiting in a queue in Rome. She marvels at the amazing changes in Britain since 1952, suggesting that we have arrived at The Age of Serendipity, which she argues is the happy amalgam of an attitude and a skill. But what does a lost Sri Lankan camel have to do with it? Tired with walking in Rome, she cheers up at the thought that someone is working on a ‘stay-youthful-for-longer’ pill.

St Peter’s Basilica, Rome. Photo credit: Sébastien Bertrand, Paris, France

W 10

hen I was regaled with details of the proposed school trip to Rome I looked at the

itinerary with dismay – 40 boys were being taken to the Eternal City, to see many things but avoiding th

e V atican.

‘No my love’ I told my child ‘we will take you to Rome, and you will see what it is most famous for – St Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel.’ Having said that, of course, we had to deliver. On the way there, he sang for me the Golden Jubilee song, which the school chamber choir is practising: we took the Queen’s presence with us. When we got to St Peter’s I saw why

such an obvious omission had been planned- there was in the centre of the eternal city what looked like an eternal

queue - I would not volunteer to be responsible for 40 odd boys for that length of time in those conditions! One small boy was enough; I told him about new things which had happened in the sixty years of our monarch’s reign. Our monarch has presided over more than half a century’s worth of change and our lives have been transformed irrevocably, never to return to 1952 conditions, in so many respects. The population which cheered at her coronation was 50.5 million – today she has 63.1 million subjects – some of whom originated in much poorer countries – including of course his mother. This has given rise to a new expression: political correctness. ‘Does that mean that you have to feel exactly the same about each person, whether they look scary, or not?’ Sometimes

children get to the core of a question, whilst adults dance around the subject, avoiding each other’s gaze. It’s so we behave with each other politely, dear – done in the belief that if you come across each other often enough, those feelings of fear will change. ‘In some cases, we are still waiting’ he said. I could not disagree. I wanted to mention the Social revolution of th

e 1960s:I will argue one

day when he is older, that at this time, the dialogue between instinct and intelligence – the two sides of our nature, which define us, changed as well. The secular state came into its own, during the reign of our monarch. It became more acceptable to challenge the old, to honour the quirky, to applaud the maverick, to appreciate the playful, to encourage those who indulge

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