A Portrait of the Queen Special Article - June/July 22
A Portrait of the Queen by Jennie Bond
June’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations mark an extraordinary 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne, surpassing the previous record held by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years.
Jennie Bond worked as Royal Correspondent for the BBC throughout the nineties, covering some of the happiest, most tragic, and scandalous moments that have befallen the family in recent times.
“At the heart of it, I am a fan of royalty and a fan of the family unit,” she says. “The trials that the Royal Family have been through are really no different to our own, and that should reassure them as well as us. They are human beings, and fate doesn’t shine brighter on them, the everyday gains and losses are just part of being alive.
“Ultimately, it is how you come back from the challenges that really matters – and the Queen has, over the past seven decades, truly shown herself to be the most resilient person possible.”
Bond is certainly relieved our Head of State has styled and positioned herself with such a brand of quiet authority. “You could arguably look at almost everyone around the Queen and pick out faults and failings,” she says. “We’ve seen so many in recent years, to the extent we don’t need to name the culprits or the dealings.
“Yet when you shine that light on the Queen it’s really difficult, at any point, to say, ‘you got that wrong’, or ‘this could have been done better’.
“I think with Elizabeth we tend to take that for granted – we tend to just accept she is like that without contemplating what sort of royal landscape we would have with someone less capable at the helm.”
As far as privacy goes, the Queen values it, but respects the need to be visible and approachable. “Elizabeth is funny, charismatic, sharp as anything, but I think worn down at times by the sheer weight of what it is she has to do. It’s no easy task for someone in their nineties and no amount of wealth or privilege will compensate for what is an incredible commitment to her people,” says Bond.
“I have had the honour of covering a lot of royal moments of great importance, moments in history I suppose – Princess Diana’s death, the Queen Mother’s death, the divorce of Charles and Diana. All those were very important moments I had to report on. But honestly, I think the Jubilee celebrations and the pomp and pageantry is the most important. I know it signifies a simple anniversary – just a date in the calendar – but more than that it’s a way of looking back over the continued efforts of someone so brave and inspiring, and is the perfect way to say ‘thank you’ to a very special lady.”