I was making dinner when I heard the announcement. The radio was on in the kitchen and Radio 3 was playing some or other music (no idea what it was) when someone suddenly said: “We interrupt this programme … ”
And I knew.
It shouldn’t have been shocking but it was. It was obvious things weren’t well with the Queen but it didn’t occur to me that she’d die. I’d hoped, very hard indeed, that she wouldn’t. If she did, I thought it would break Britain.
When the announcer finished saying what he’d come to say, they played the National Anthem and despite having lived here for nearly 40 years, I still don’t know the words and probably never will. I clung onto the radio for support (a good solid wooden one) and I cried. Because it was sad. Because the Queen was this granny-figure whom I quite liked, having never had a grandmother of any sort. Because it meant that Britain, already facing appalling hardship this winter and with a truly dreadful new PM at the helm, felt, in that moment, utterly broken to me.
This sounds frightfully dramatic. What I mean by broken is that people are already angry and frightened. The fuel hikes are going to be a killer and the whole economy feels desperate. If you add sadness into the general mix of fear and anger, you’re not looking at a country with any obvious joy in its immediate future. Some sort of miracle would have to occur to fix this all up – if, that is, it’s at all fixable. I’m not sure if the miracle would have to be political or divine. I don’t know what it would take.
As for Charles, I quite like him, though I only started liking him once he got older. It felt as if he had managed to mature into someone I could respect. I like that he was into being green and organic and saving the planet decades before it became trendy. He used to be called a tree hugger. Now we’re all looking for trees to hug.