Bingo! Some thoughts about flag-waving, nostalgia and the Diamond Jubilee

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I’m feeling less than jubilant about her Majesty’s Jubilee. My feelings towards the British monarchy are ambivalent. This may come as a surprise to my readers as they have seen my recent collection of Royal themed mugs which I personally sourced in secondhand shops during my recent trip back home but there you are. You see, I think the Windsors are an anachronism. It depresses me that many of those lining the streets to celebrate her sixty years on the throne are unable to explain why exactly we need a Queen in the 21st century – apart from perhaps to attract a bit of additional revenue from tourism. Neither though does the idea of a President Cameron appeal.

Like I said, it’s complicated.

Watching all that Union Jack waving, even from the safe distance of Central Europe, got me thinking about nostalgia and the things that you miss when living abroad. It’s only just occurred to me since everyone with a British passport took it upon themselves to organise tea parties that there’s one old fashioned Granny pursuit I’ve never seen here in Czechland: bingo. Now there’s a suitably tongue-in-cheek way to celebrate sixty years of Elizabeth’s II reign: organise a bingo night! Eyes down! Two little ducks, clickety click! Perhaps I could even raise a few crowns for charity!

Of course if I can’t be bothered to put any effort into putting together any sort of jubilee celebration, albeit an ironic one, I suppose I could have a go online. I’ve never gambled before so I’m just going to choose a site at random. Foxy Bingo has a catchy ring to it.

Don’t tell Czechman. He’ll never forgive me – even if I do win.


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14 Responses to Bingo! Some thoughts about flag-waving, nostalgia and the Diamond Jubilee

  1. Sean Mark Miller via Facebook

    I had a republican friend in Pilsen many years ago. He was invited to Bethlehem Chapel to meet the Queen (with her G&T in hand) and Prince Phillip (apparently already beyond tipsy) and returned a died-in-the-wool monarchist. On the other extreme, I remember sitting at a German-Australian Student Society ball in Sydney with the national anthems being played and some drunk Aussies loudly throwing back shots and saying, ‘God fuck the Queen!’ For a third tangent :-), there was a study of the role of the institution as its function changes based on the Japanese monarchy:

    • girlinczechland

      Hi Sean,

      *Love* both your stories! Perhaps I also would return a dyed-in-the-wool monarchist after a tete-a-tete with Her Majesty. The JSTOR article looks interesting too – another one for my long ‘to read’ list, which includes ‘A Short History of Communism’ in preparation for my long promised post on said theme…


  2. Hi GIC – Can I just further add to my online reputation for spotting other people’s mistakes (& I know I make plenty myself :-)) but it is Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. I know because it’s mine too! The Golden one was ten years ago!

    Whilst an hereditary monarchy is in many ways an anachronism as you rightly say, any replacement would be far worse. But it is strange living here in the Czech Republic (please notice the definite article) & watching or reading about the celebrations in the UK from afar.

    • Richardinprague

      Hello again vicar – you deserve a place in Private Eye’s “Pedants’ corner”!!!
      People might also miss the fact that she was not acutally crowned Queen until 1953, if I’m not mistaken. It was decided that it would be too brash to have a coronation “do” straight after her father died, particularly as Britain was not only mourning, but also still suffering the austerity (and I mean REAL austerity) which followed WWII.
      Incidentally, next year will also mark the 60th anniversary of the first ascent of Mount Everest …. announced around the same time as the coronation.

      • Hello Richard- you are quite correct in saying that the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was not held until 2nd June 1953, 16 months after she ascended to the throne on the death of her father on 6th February 1952. This year’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations therefore celebrate her 60 years as monarch, not 60 years since her coronation.

    • girlinczechland

      Hello again Ricky,

      I’m grateful for attentive readers who take the time to point out my errors! I think this particular mistake is further evidence of the fact that I’ve only been taking a passing interest in the whole Jubilee shenanigans.

      As for the definite article issue, I came across this interesting article on the BBC website yesterday which suggests my approach to the whole issue may be incorrect. Gasp! Further research is clearly required…


      • Hello GIC – You are most welcome & I note that ‘Golden’ has already been changed to ‘Diamond’ in your blogpost heading.

        As for the definite article issue, I too had already read the article from the BBC News website to which you link. It does raise some interesting questions & challenges somewhat the views that both you & I hold.

  3. ah, come on…the royals are cute…what’s not to like….they’re like your own public soap opera…

    • girlinczechland

      Cute? Hmm, not so sure. Do they provide a sort of public soap opera? Definitely – but unwittingly I think.


  4. Richardinprague

    hi, Girl!
    I actually LIKE the Queen – I know she and the whole family are anachronisms, but the fact that they are there all the time – not just for 4 or 5 years, then “all change” like in countries with Presidents – is one of the things that makes the British different.
    I think they put on a good celebration, even though possibly it’s a year early (see my reply to the vicar), and it was a chance for the security people to have a dry run ahead of the Olympic farce which will overwhelm London over the summer.

    When you’re talking about things you’ve been missing recently, and linking with your “tocene zmrzlinou” blog earlier …. don’t you even pine for an occasional icecream with a flake in it? We call them “Ninety-niners” in the UK …. and I’ve never seen them in any other country except Eire.
    When I lived in Cornwall we even had a dollop of clotted cream on top as well – a real cholesterol bombshell, but delicious!

    • girlinczechland

      Hello Richard,

      I do appreciate that her Majesty deserves credit for continuing to work hard well beyond retirement age – a fate which I fear awaits all of us who are a generation or two younger. While I think the idea of having a pop concert in front of Buckingham Palace is frankly a bit cheesy, you’re right, the Olympics do risk being cheesier still. I’m glad I’ll escape most of the hype here in Czechland.

      Ninety nines! Yes! Now you’re talking my language. And it is also a shame that clotted cream is one of the few British culinary items that you can’t get your hands on here in Czechland (as far as I know) although when I last indulged myself with a clotted cream tea I must confess I felt a bit sick! A shame, as I’d been looking forward to it for ages…


  5. Michal

    Hey GIC, nice post about the Queen and Royal family.. it seems as everybody likes the Royal family except for English/British people. During my exchange studies in England earlier this year, I encountered an interesting idea – if you put Justin Bieber to the Buckingham Palace, it will attract even more tourists! A point worth considering I would say 🙂

  6. Frank


    I just find your blog today. I left czech 14years ago and now i live in US. It is interesting reading how someone else see my home land . Thanks i will open my Eyes and start exploring US.It must be something good here to:). I almost told that it is every were same ( people drive 60 miles to work ,eat hamburgers and watch reality show).

    thanks again


  7. Michael


    Interesting discussion. Why, indeed, have a king or queen in this age? I’ve always been curious about the American preoccupation with the royals. My oldest daughter, age 22, is probably more “attached” to the royal family than you are…and has never been to the UK.

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