Sunday 25 March 2018

Ruth Dudley Edwards: The Queen offers a sense of continuity in a restless world

Jubilee festivities struck a chord with ordinary people as the Queen marks 60 years, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards

I walked through London's Chinatown on Thursday. The Chinese enjoy celebrations, and the bunting for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee was still festooning several streets. Each piece consisted simply of Union Jacks alternating with Chinese flags. It was a simple way of showing that loyalties can be complementary, and in the same spirit as the Muslim woman I saw wearing a Union Jack hijab.

If I'd had the ability or the money, I'd have created British-Irish bunting for the modest party with friends to watch the Thames regatta. Like many Irish people who live in Britain, I am Irish and British and love both countries. I have lived in England for most of my life; but not having been born there, I would never call myself English. Britishness is different: it encompasses complex identities and loyalties.

There were many immigrants out on the rainy streets cheering Queen Elizabeth. For those who came from Commonwealth countries, she has always been part of their lives, a frequent and well-informed visitor and in some cases their native country's queen. But in truth there are few places that don't know of her. She is the most famous woman on earth and she offers a sense of continuity in a restless world. The Americans don't want the monarchy back, but they love British royalty.

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