At about 12:30pm today, Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, sailed past South Parks Road roughly two metres away from me in her Queenmobile and disappeared into the new �60 million Oxford University Chemistry Lab to ceremonially open it.
When I heard about this yesterday, I originally thought that it’d be a bit of a waste of time to go along and watch, given that I’m an avowed republican (not that I think the monarchy is going away any time soon). This morning, though, a couple of things occurred to me. Firstly, I’ve never seen the Queen in person before and it seemed like a good idea to actually have a look at our Head of State in person. Secondly, it was as good a reason as any other to take a few minutes off work.
I suspect that most people in the two hundred-strong crowd lining the road felt the same way as me when they saw the entourage drive past; in other words, they were students who were impressed, despite their cynical nature. Nobody was waving any flags and a brave attempt by a few to get the crowd clapping failed dismally, but people were still excited to have seen the Queen close up.
The most reaction anyone got from the crowd actually came five minutes before the Queen arrived, from a bus driving instructor who beamed at us, waving regally from behind the driver – even the hardened university grad students had to laugh.