Thursday, 31 May 2012
God bless Her Majesty!
I gave a brief impromptu speech in honour of the Queen this evening at our Diamond Jubilee Student Barbeque. I recalled how she exerted a good influence on public life precisely because she is a Christian sovereign. I mentioned that during her reign the United Kingdom has known long periods of peace. I also mentioned that successive prime ministers had benefitted from her long experience in world affairs. The Jubilee was a moment to be truly thankful. Then I said, "Let us offer a toast: 'Her Majesty the Queen!'" To a person the 20 or so students present stood up, raised assorted glasses and the toast rang out loud and clear. It was all rather moving. Students are not usually marshallable and shyness will prevent some from speaking publicly. At that moment, we were all caught up in a lovely dynamic in which pride, patriotism and fellow-feeling were expressed. Earlier in the day, we had put on a Jubilee High Tea for members of staff. Dominica Richmond, the Chaplaincy Administrator, had baked lots of delicious cakes and pastries. My job was to sit on the Chaplaincy Landing for an hour-and-a-half eating them while chatting to successive waves of staff bunking off work. Here are some of the barbeque students and beneath them our Principal, Professor Freda Bridge, sitting at the centre of a group of five during High Tea.