Sunday, 3 June 2012

little groups of silent people

Wednesday Feb 6, 1952

This morning our king passed away. When I heard the news I couldn’t believe it, although he had been ill, he was so much better. Also the manner in which I heard it was hardly convincing. One of our workmen put his head through the window [of the office] and said to Mr Eldridge who was with me “the old king’s dead”. He didn’t look put out in the least. Oh how horrible everyone is becoming or is it just provincial? As mummy said, 50 years ago a man in his position would have taken his hat off and said “His Majesty has died”, or words to that effect. Muriel said quite openly that it didn’t affect her personally in the least. Janet and I felt the same, though [deeply saddened], and when I listened over the wireless & heard what was going on in London – little groups of silent people at Buckingham Palace standing outside in the drizzle and shopkeepers taking all coloured things out of the window etc, I knew that we were not in the minority. It has been so sudden and such a shock and there is poor little Princess Elizabeth rushing back from her tour of Australia – only 25 years old – and Queen of England. I suppose she has never had much freedom but she will have precious little left now or for the rest of her life. I think the Royal Family are wonderful - so courageous and brave and always smiling whatever their private feelings. I have only seen the Queen (now queen mother) in the flesh and I thought she was perfectly lovely and such a sweet and serene expression on her face and now poor dear she must go on alone and in the background. What a blessing that Princess Elizabeth had her marriage and found someone so nice and to her liking while her father was alive and could give her away etc, and also that her first baby was a boy and so made the succession to the throne right. When I think she is only my age, even if she has been trained for the job, I think she is  wonderful – so poised and so pretty too. I suppose we shall have all new stamps and money now. She is so small and yet she is now first in the land. I think she will make a lovely Queen even as her father was such a good and kind King. It seems almost unnatural to think that this time yesterday the King was alive and the Princess and the Duke were in Kenya enjoying themselves on their little holiday at the start of their long tour & everyone about their normal business and in 24 hours the princess now Queen is rushing  back to England & the whole country is in mourning.

An extract from Mum's journal. It seemed fitting today, when London, despite the pouring rain, is pouring it's heart out to Queen and occasion. I had hoped that her account of the coronation would be there as well; she saw it on a black and white TV in Battle Memorial Hall and it was the first time she went out properly with my Dad. Sadly. later in 1952 Mum's dearly loved dog Randy died aged only seven. She had longed for a puppy for years, and was given Randy as a birthday gift when she was 18. Here she is walking Randy, five years before the above entry.

Mum and her beloved Randy in the park 1947
There are no further entries after that in her journal

4 comments:

  1. what a great diary post! It is like your Mum was a blogger in her own day, diary instead of computer :) Such a nice glimpse into the past, thank you for sharing.

    Bean

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    1. Thank you Bean - yes, I'd not thought of it like that but as my grandmother (Mum's Mum) was a writer I guess we all have the writing bug one way or another.

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  2. Thank you for this post - brings deeper thoughts to our Jubilee celebrations.

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    1. yes, it made me think about history and how having a monarch links us with our past and our families' pasts; we share them with each other in the way that an elected leader can never be shared, because they have no continuity. Must be getting philosophical in my old age!!

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