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  • Writer's pictureCorinne Yeadon

An End of An Era

“I’m not a Royalist, but…” has been an oft expressed declaration over the last couple of weeks. I will freely admit that the depth of feeling attached to the death of Queen Elizabeth took me completely by surprise. It is in the literal sense an end of an era, whatever your social or political stance. We will get our heads round it, but it will, just as with any change take time, after all Elizabeth as our Head of State is all the majority of us have ever known.

Changes, occasions, and events in the royal family can often be reminders of our own experiences and of people no longer with us. My grandparents who were staunch Monarchists have been at the forefront of my mind during this time.

I grew up with the royal family being part of and interwoven through my family’s lives. Christmas dinner needed to be done and dusted ready for the Queen’s speech and woe betide anyone talking or fidgeting through the nations address. A treasured Coronation book was passed to me that as a child had to be handled as if it were made of the most delicate Bone China and of course only looked at under strict supervision with freshly washed hands. I recall my granny’s button tin was originally a tin of toffees from a royal occasion. This reverence was passed down to my mother and although diluted there existed a regal presence in our home by way of an assortment of commemorative plates precariously perched on dado rails along with cups that would never see a drop of tea. My favourite photograph of me and my mother is standing under the arch at St Alkelda’s church in Giggleswick during the silver jubilee celebrations with a sea of people behind us. Somewhere in the back of a cupboard there is a scrapbook containing painstakingly cut and pasted newspaper cuttings covering the timeline from the announcement of Charles and Diana’s engagement up to their wedding day.

The day of the Queen’s death I had a compulsion to go to London and visit Buckingham Palace, thankfully a friend felt the same, so off we trotted. We had no idea what to expect, it was not a sombre outing, but one of sharing stories with strangers, an atmosphere of camaraderie and belonging. Over recent years there have been many events that have caused significant divisions in society but it feels like this has united people, even if it’s temporary.

There are send offs and there are send offs, the sense of ceremony and pageantry in this country is second to none. My heart was in my mouth watching those young pall bearers with such a weight of responsibility and the world watching. I wandered into my garden at one point and was struck by the silence generally only achieved by an unexpected heavy snowfall.

It’s never the things you expect that will press your crumple button, watching the clip of Queen Elizabeth producing a marmalade sandwich from her handbag to show Paddington Bear and seeing the Queen’s beloved Corgi’s and Fell pony without their mama.

Going forward there will be changes, hearing people sing the national anthem with “King” instead of “Queen” sounded all kinds of wrong. I was talking to my youngest granddaughter while we were on her birthday outing about how stamps and money will change at some point to depict King Charles. The panic on her face was evident with the mistaken belief that her birthday money would be redundant.

We have borne witness to a seismic historical event. My “Where were you when?...” will be attached to cooking a beef stroganoff for the first time. We will all have anecdotes to pass down, some more exciting than making a stroganoff.

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