The Queen And I
15th June 2012
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A Big thanks to Doug Brooker from Brookers who has written this review of his encounter with the Queen.

"A month ago Keith Hoskins mentioned, as we passed each other in the market place, that the Queen might be visiting and that we (Brookers) might be invited to meet her. It all seemed very unreal and unlikely to happen. Fast Forward a month and suddenly I am standing in line waiting for a tiny, dainty, elderly lady to shake my hand, feeling about 6 years old again.

When the visit had been confirmed I anticipated lengthy rehearsals, briefings, security checks and protocol lectures but the whole event was handled in a refreshingly low key fashion. I had expected our passes for the day to be barcoded, chipped and probably set, via a satellite, to dish out electric shocks to protocol breakers but they were just a simple NHDC card with our names on. Oddly they also said ‘Operation Devine’. Bad spellers at the council I wondered, surely not? The last monarch claiming any kind of divinity had come horribly unstuck.

The actual morning was brilliant.  My cousin Andy and I had decided to arrive early in order not to get caught in traffic. Arriving in the square at 9 and the crowds were already getting in position.

We used our passes to get ‘the other side’ of the barriers and went for a wander. All along the High Street the young and old were enjoying the sunshine and a slowly building carnival atmosphere. We made our way back into the square and still with nearly two hours to go the crowd was getting excited. Photographers were moving about snapping royal fans, whilst the TV companies looked to set cameras up for the best angles. The press and radio were interviewing children, mainly, it seemed, Andy’s youngest daughters. ‘Have you been given the day off school?’ ‘No, we horribly slaughtered our teacher, burnt down the school and then ran all the way here to get a good spot’ well that’s what I would have said. 

And still the crowd grew. Hitchin, bathed in sunshine, has never looked better and the people of Hitchin more than did themselves proud.

We went and had another look around, by 10.15 all along the High St, Sun St and the Square were heaving. A cheering, flag waving mass of happy humanity.  Then, after two practice verses of Jerusalem – much more rousing than the National Anthem, of which HRH must be heartily sick by now – she arrived. Dropped outside the snooker club ‘No time for a quick game of billiards I suppose?’ ‘ No Ma’am, the admiring throng awaits.’ Into the Square for the British Schools presentation and suddenly the butterflies, hitherto totally absent, arrived in a swooping, wheeling flock. And there she was in front of me, offering a tiny gloved hand, gentle smile on her oh so familiar face. Then speaking. To me. I answered as best I could and then she was gone.  I am sure in a few years’ time those few exchanged words will grow into a full convivial conversation but it was only a  fleeting moment. On reflection afterwards the thing that struck me was how calm she was. In the midst of the cheering, singing and by this time apoplectically excited, seething horde she was totally unruffled but then again I s’pose she must be used to it.

In the immediate hour following meeting the Queen I was still hyper. High on the adrenaline of meeting a person who has succeeded at the same job for sixty years,  a person who sits at the sharp end of a dynasty that has stood for a thousand years, a dynasty that has influenced the lives of every single person on the planet. How cool is that?". Doug

To view a short film shot by Hitchin based Film Infinity please click here

(Photograph courtesy of Sharon Cooper and video by Film Infinity)

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