On not meeting Queen Elizabeth II

Dot writes: the Queen is visiting Trinity today. I was contacted a couple of months ago and asked if I wanted to be one of the party greeting her. I said yes, but so did lots of other people and I wasn’t picked (they ran a lottery so this is no reflection on my dubious past as a member of the Tolkien Society).

The security around this visit is absolutely ferocious. Half of Trinity College, including the Arts Building, has been closed to everyone without special security clearance since Saturday afternoon. I had a first-year exam to attend yesterday and spent the day lurking in a hidden room in Goldsmith Hall because I couldn’t get to my office. I saw enough of Trinity College to notice that all the dustbins had been removed. Today there are rolling street closures in Dublin and the public won’t be allowed to congregate to try to meet the Queen in the places she is visiting; and my office is still off limits. I won’t be the only person who just stays at home today. Her Majesty will think Dublin is the Marie Celeste.

I can’t help thinking it’s all a bit excessive. Yes, there are some people who will want to protest at the visit of a Head of State who was Queen on Bloody Sunday, and it would be very embarrassing if anybody succeeded in bombing her, but surely the message this sends out to the world is that Ireland is a hotbed of terrorism; and even in the North that’s no longer the case. Meanwhile the message it’s sending out to Hugh is that Mummy is home so it can’t be a schoolday. Sadly that’s not true either.

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One thought on “On not meeting Queen Elizabeth II

  1. Helen Conrad-O'Briain

    One of the subtexts to this visit has been the ‘Ooo! the queen is going to acknowledge people fought against her/her grandfather’s etc government for Irish freedom’. Despite what the Irish seem to think, successfully rebelling against the British crown is not an unique experience. Been there, done that, and bought the commemorative tee shirt in 1976 – and Elizabeth came over and we were all very decent to one another. We high-minded city on the hill dwelling Americans even began to acknowledge it wasn’t all just the wonderfully virtuous patriots against the dastardly Britishers, vicious loyalists, and unspeakable Hessians. We gave as good as we got – and we usually got there the ‘firstest with the mostest’. The patriots’ motivation was not as pure as the driven snow either- if you still have notions about that read ‘The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution’. Arguably, the revolution had as much to do with land deals (and doing down the Amerinds) as any high-minded theory of personal liberty – surprised?
    We should never ignore history – but national myths have no right to be treated as history. They are a thorn that must always be pulled, because they too often seek to excuse our group, our motives …
    Which leads me to a second point. Everyone – including Mr. Kenney – seem to be fixated on ‘apologies’. I suspect this has less to do with actually wanting an apology than wanting to appear green enough to spike the dissidents’ cannons. Rather than expecting Elizabeth in sackcloth and ashes over 800 years of oppression – which might as honestly described as 800 years of incompetence – Irish citizens ought to be demanding apologies from the Irish men and Irish women who have landed them in the present situation of national misery apparently without any British help at all.
    In the end, human nature is human nature. Nations and peoples who try to play on the moral high ground of victim hood always find within a generation or less that they have as much a gift for oppression as anyone else. One person’s oppression notoriously is another’s self-preservation.

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