She gave a small nod to let them know that she was ready. Then trumpets were blown and a fanfare was played, announcing her arrival to all inside the church. So she made her entrance and walked along the familiar aisle. How many times has she walked along this aisle? Her beloved Papa’s coronation, her own coronation, her wedding, her children’s wedding. And there were also sad memories: she still remembered that funeral.
All these memories ran in her mind as she walked, but they did not at all make her unaware of the reverential bows and smiles directed towards her from those lined up along the aisle. She had been accustomed to keep her thoughts to herself, and not letting them interfere with her outward actions. So she smiled back to those familiar faces, while continuing her reminiscences in her mind.
She noticed some unfamiliar faces, but of course she knew who they are. Celebrities, is that the term? She smiled grimly. What would Papa (or Grandmother) have said! Ah, but one has to keep up with the time. Has she not learnt that lesson? And after all, not all new ideas are unpleasant. The old church looked more endearing with these trees. They even reminded her of an old picture of the Crystal Palace.
She had been sitting for a while when suddenly a loud cheer was heard from outside. It must be the bride’s arrival, she thought. She arose with all the guests, and there was the bride, walking down the aisle. The bride was pretty. She sighed inwardly. Pretty ladies do not seem to go along well with her family. And this one was not even a lady. But at that moment she saw her grandson’s face. It seemed to brighten as he looked at his bride. This sight warmed her heart. Yet she had seen many loving brides and grooms before, and had seen many of them turned bitter within a short period of time.
These young people, she thought, why can they not bear their duty more patiently? Indeed, why can they not seem to understand their duty?
In what seemed to her a very short time, the service was over. The bride and the groom stopped as they passed her. He smiled and bowed, and she curtseyed. She must admit that it was a graceful curtsey, and even more so considering the fact that she had only learnt to do it in these recent years. The bride smiled warmly, too. She smiled back, but she could not help being reminded of another bride, prettier than the one before her now, with a more graceful curtsey and a warmer smile. And what had come out of those? She almost cringed as she remembered those horrible years. Not that she blamed that poor woman for all that happened, of course. She was under no illusion when her own offspring are concerned. It seems almost a family legacy, she thought. Most of the monarchs of her House had their cross in the form of their progeny.
Few minutes earlier, the national anthem was sung. Was it only her feelings, or did the people really sing it a little more fervently than usual? She wondered what they thought while they were singing. Surely she had reigned long enough? Long had she felt the weight of the crown. But then she thought of her heir, and his consort. And she found herself quietly said ‘amen’ to the anthem: long to reign over us, God save the Queen.