What It Must Have Been Like To Be The Queen

Many years ago when the world was young I was one of the four Vice Presidents of the Linnean Society of London. Each year the society would have a ‘conversazione’ — basically a drinks party — in some nice location, preferably of scientific or historic significance. One year it was to be held at Down House, the home of Charles Darwin. A duty of the President was to welcome guests to the event, shaking hands, smiling and finding some suitably anodyne words of welcome. As the conversazione was the society’s ‘Ladies’ Night’ the President was expected to be accompanied by their spouse. (This was quite a few unreconstructed years ago – I am pleased to say that the Society now has a female President). That year, the President couldn’t attend (field work abroad); one VP was ineligible (going through a divorce); the other two couldn’t make it (for reasons I can no longer remember) so the baton was passed to me.

After work me and Mrs Gee hoofed it as fast as possible to Down House; were ushered into an upstairs room to change into our posh frocks; and were then stood in the front hall of Down House to welcome the guests. We stood there for some hours. The floor was very, very hard. The guests just kept on coming. After they had all arrived we had a very quick chance to enjoy the party and take a look at the inside of Down House. Then we went home.

We were dog tired. Our feet ached from standing on that hard floor. Our hands ached from all the handshakes. Even our faces ached from all the forced smiling. The last thing I remember before falling gratefully asleep was Mrs Gee saying ‘now I know what it feels like to be the Queen’.

And that was for just a couple of hours.

Imagine having to endure day after day of it, week after week, for more than seventy years.

In the immortal words of Paddington Bear: thank you Ma’am. For everything.

About Henry Gee

Henry Gee is an author, editor and recovering palaeontologist, who lives in Cromer, Norfolk, England, with his family and numerous pets, inasmuch as which the contents of this blog and any comments therein do not reflect the opinions of anyone but myself, as they don't know where they've been.
This entry was posted in Domesticrox and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to What It Must Have Been Like To Be The Queen

  1. Asa says:

    thank you for writing this. Regardless of what people think of the monarchy, the sheer dedication of doing the job properly and with clear purpose should make the Queen’s dedication to her work obvious. She was a true staunch pillar of the constitution.

    I do acknowledge as a Swede, I think this of our monarchs, and might be biased. But to me Queen Elizabeth II did show us what it is like to serve the country during war (WWII), dissolvement of empire (India even if she wasn’t crowned at the time but there was issues), and general conversations with “Empire vs Commonwealth”. She was one of a kind, as would be expected after 70 years on the throne.

Comments are closed.