The magnificent seven mile long flotilla of one thousand boats to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was wonderful to watch as it passed by the Golden Jubilee Bridge. My wife Santosh and I had found a place just under Charing Cross Bridge sheltered from rain but with a viewing spot slightly higher up from the main promenade. The atmosphere was party like with people in the front row standing there from about 6am. We arrived just after midday and were four rows down.
As the Royal Barge passed everybody stood on their toes to take pictures and a group of American girls behind us were giggling and shouting aloud, ‘Oh look, the Queen just waved at me, the Queen of England!’
The Queen has won the hearts of all people across the world and particularly of the Commonwealth. Santosh’s father the late Shri O P Sharma MBE came to the UK on 2nd June 1953, the same day as the Queen’s Coronation, and last Friday it was wonderful to see him in the BBC documentary of Prince Charles’s tribute to the Queen’s 60 year reign – a video clip showed two Hindu girls performing the aarti to the Queen in the Great Hall at Buckingham Palace while Shri O P Sharma was explaining the blessing.
I too am privileged to be invited every year to the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey to be allowed to say Hindu prayers as a Hindu Representative, along also with other faiths’ representatives, in the Queen’s presence.
A great progressive Queen of our times.
Anil Bhanot OBE
3rd June 2012