I managed to view His Nibs on Channel Four last night, explaining to my startled hosts that it was essential for 'work' (if that is what you can call blogging!). The Great Speech was prefaced by a carefully sanitised description of the Great Man's ahcievements, which made him seem positively saintly and those whom he criticized (Holocaust victims and so on) somewhat iffy.
His Nibs's native language, Farsi, appears to be surprisingly like Hebrew, so I understood quite a bit of the original speech, much to my great amusement. I do hope I'm not committing lese majeste by actually mentioning this.
Anyway, I tuned in to the real thing on 3.00, and it was one Her Majesty's best for a long time. The Queen combines real humility with graceful stature, unlike the faux humility put on for his own purposes by the Iranian Head of State in his carefully-staged event (following in the footsteps of his German mentor, which this country did so much to help defeat).
The Queen stood next to the family piano, surrounded by photos of family and talked about the servicemen and servicewoman who have risked their lives for this country (including having to deal with threats from His Nibs, I might add). The Queen is fully aware of the credit crunch and the effect that this global event is having on people's lives and familiies. And in the very English way which is one of this country's greatest attributes, she didn't tell us what to do. She just mentioned her own experiences of what makes for lasting happiness in life. And she said that in her experience she had seen this best in people who lead outgoing and unselfish lives, and are generous with their time. We can learn lessons, she said, from helping people who are less fortunate than ourselves. The courageous, she said, do not lie down and accept defeat. They get up and make the most of things.
Which is why, although the credit crunch has affected us all, and the future seems to be bleak, I can't help rejoicing in these last few days and look forward to the New Year as one of great hope. And as if to echo these thoughts, the day here in Manchester is crisp, sunny and dry and daffodils are trying to raise their tiny heads through the cold ground.
And, oh yes, the Queen's Message ended with footage of 60 years ago. Here we can see the beautiful young Queen playing with her first-born, Prince Charles, accompanied to the sound of children's voices singing one of the nation's favourite carols:
Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
in its pristine, pure and unexpurgated version.
As my daughter said: 'It is actions which count, not words'.
Or is it that God has a sense of humour?