The Queen on Her Platinum Jubilee: Her Reign, Part 1
It is hard to believe that the Queen is 95. The ageing process has been achieved gracefully and skilfully, and to the older generation has been masked by their vision of a perennially youthful Sovereign.
The changes in her public demeanour have, over the years, been subtle and few. She can now smile to order, but the brave fixed grin of the walkabout is but a shadow of the private smile, which can illuminate a room, and line-ups of VIPs rarely experience her infectious outbursts of laughter which seem reserved for gatherings of people she likes and trusts.
The crystalline, debutante vowels of the 1950s have long since disappeared, having been subsumed into a democratic inflexion and diction. The Queen had been reigning but five years when her public image came under fire from the highly respectable and entirely well-meaning historian and biographer, John Grigg, then Lord Altrincham, editor of the small cir-culation journal, National and English Review, who wrote: ‘The personality conveyed by the utterances which are put into her mouth is that of a priggish schoolgirl, captain of the hockey team, a prefect and a recent candidate for Confirmation. It is not like this that she will be enabled to come into her own as an independent and distinctive character.’
See also: The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: The Royal Horses
The wrath of the Establishment descended on Grigg, and although he was not horse-whipped (deemed by some of the more outraged as a condign punishment), he was slapped hard across the face in the street by a member of the League of Empire Loyalists, for expressing the view that dared not speak its name, that even a highly regarded dutiful Monarch was not flawless. The assailant, a Mr Burbridge, was fined 20 shillings (£1) by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, who made it clear that he sympathised with his motives.