Thursday, March 12, 2015


A poignant episode in Southampton earlier this week in marked contrast to the scene when Her Majesty The Queen bade a tearful farewell to her much loved royal yacht Britannia all those years ago.  As far as the royals go I confess to being pretty much of an agnostic and so when the decision was taken to decommission the royal yacht, I wasn`t that bothered about it.  

But looking back - and despite my misgivings about the royalty - I have to confess a considerable admiration for our 88 year old monarch.  I now think that that decision, taken by the newly formed Blair government following months of indecision by the outgoing Major one, was perhaps a sad affair, especially for the Queen, to whom Britannia meant so much.  In hindsight, it seemed cheap, mean spirited; a political rather than a financial decision.

But this week saw Her Majesty launch the latest and biggest in a long line of cruise ships - and she named it `Britannia.`  As she did so, I thought I caught a fleeting glimpse of regret pass across her regal features, almost as if all the happy memories she had of her time aboard the royal yacht were flooding back, along with her sadness at being forced to say goodbye to one of her favourite retreats from a hectic world.

But there was a happy ending.  Just being in Southampton again - the jewel of the south coast - along with the spring sunshine, seemed to lift her spirits and rightly so.  Oh to be in Southampton now that Spring is here, blessed as it is with the country`s most agreeable and progressive football club and, to mark the occasion of her visit the Queen was presented with an impressive gift as a token of mutual affection and admiration.  Her Majesty looks to be wearing it with pride and it certainly complements her chosen outfit for the day.

This rare and distinctive gift will surely be treasured in the royal household and it certainly brought a smile back to the royal countenance. It is so pleasing to report that  it all ended happily after all.

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