I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was unashamedly glued to the television yesterday and loving all the pageantry and history and tradition. I thought Princess Catherine looked amazing, and loved her embroidered headdress as much as I loved the way it was designed by someone who got her start via the Princes Trust. (She’s Jess Collett and you can see her website here https://www.jesscollettmilliner.com/ and I love her very English style.
The Royal children were as cute as they came, and I was amazed by how well Prince Louis did for a five year old, and how gorgeous Charlotte is. Most of all, though, the ordinary people, which is a daft phrase because I don’t think anyone can accurately be called ordinary, but anyway, they were the ones who stole my heart. Yes, it was raining, but hey, it’s rained at every Coronation for the last hundred and fifty years so it’s tradition and one thing we’re good at in England is tradition.
It’s often struck me that England is made up of two very different places. The cities that are edgy, modern and multicultural and the other England, where I happen to live. Where we don’t embrace change for change's sake. Where we don’t actually want to rush the whole time. Where we like a good party, whether or not it’s raining cats and dogs. Where those crowds made their way down the Mall to see the balcony appearance without pushing and shoving. The pictures on TV overwhelmingly showed people laughing and happy to be there and coming together for a party. We talk so much about our differences that I think we sometimes forget our capacity to do that and I’m loving writing at the moment about Amy Hammond and everyone at Swansmere’s preparations for Coronation Day.
Some may say I’m escaping from reality and that places like the ones I write about don’t exist. I smile at them and tell them I’m sure they’re right… and then I smile to myself because I know that in my corner of the world, there are plenty of people who give up their time uncomplainingly to help others, just as the St John Ambulance people did for the Coronation. There are people who dress up to reconstruct battles, and you haven’t lived until you hear two burly bearded Vikings discussing where they’ll get the best cream tea after a battle. (You thought it was all rape and pillage? Yes, me too…) There are people who are so passionate about classic cars and motorbikes that they get together on Poole Quay on summer evenings. There are people who dress up as pirates for Harry Paye day where we celebrate Poole’s very own privateer and people who lead ghost walks at Halloween dressed in full Victorian costume.
And you know what? Not one of them cares if people laugh, and as I mature, I’m trying to live my life by that rule and be as unselfconscious and have as much fun as the people who stood in the rain to watch the Coronation. Why not give it a try? Stop worrying about being cool and start doing it because it’s fun…