Alan Crosby's blog: A time for royal reflection

By Guest, 21 April 2016 - 2:47pm

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday today. Alan looks at how the country has changed during her reign, and the ways in which his own forebears marked royal occasions in the past

Dr Alan Crosby is the editor of the Local Historian and a columnist for WDYTYA? MagazineThursday 21 April 2016
Alan Crosby
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Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) waves during Silver Jubilee celebrations for her grandfather King George V in 1935 (Photo: Getty Images)

The Queen is 90 today, and has already reigned 64 years, 2 months and 15 days. Like the majority of us, I’ve never known a time when there was anybody else on the throne.

But my mum has lived through four reigns – though one was the brief interlude of Edward VIII in 1936 – and my grandparents lived through six, since both were born near the end of Queen Victoria’s reign.

We often remember royal occasions. At the time of the Silver Jubilee in 1977, older people looked back to the Silver Jubilee of George V in 1935, and there was a lot of talk about how much things had changed since then, and what ups and downs the country had gone through in the intervening 42 years of war and transformation.

Mum talked about the celebrations in Manchester for the King’s 25 years on the throne, though I think her recollections were a bit mixed up with those of the coronation of George VI, which took place only two years later, perhaps even with the royal visit to Manchester when he and Queen Mary opened the city’s new central library in July 1934. Mum was there and saw them – a rare treat.

Come to think of it, I’ve only seen the Queen once myself. She tends not to head my way, but in 1972, when we were on holiday on the Isle of Man, she came to open Tynwald, the island’s parliament, for its millennium celebrations.

I have a couple of photographs, taken over the heads of the crowds the ancient site of Tynwald Hill, in which she’s a small dot in the distance. No zoom lens or digital camera then!

Alan Crosby lives in Lancashire and is editor of The Local Historian. He is an honorary research fellow at Lancashire and Liverpool universities.

 

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