Ray Massey
4 min readJun 6, 2022

And then Andrew got Diplomatic Covid for the Jubilee.

As a small child some 70 years ago, many of my early memories were of people on ladders putting up Bunting and Union Jack Flags on lampposts down our small road.

In particular, a memory of my own Father nailing a handmade; gold coloured cardboard E II R sign on our house, right in the middle, over the front room window.

I had no real idea why all this was going on. But then at 5 years of age the whole world was a constant mystery so I just took it as normal activity for the time of year. My Parents were caring people but not great at offering their understandings or explanations to anyone, especially not to a small boy. Doesn’t matter I thought, my Mum was always talking to other women in our road, each of whom who would also be wearing the regulation home made Pinafore Apron over their dress. So, sooner or later she would be likely to say something about it that I could understand.

Consequently, I listened in whilst she was out sweeping the pavement in front of the house and gossiping with the next door neighbour who was also sweeping up. And yes, they were both wearing Pinafores. So I heard things like; ‘Very young for such responsibilities’; and ‘She was away’ and ‘Gold Coach’ and ‘lovely dress’ and ‘Party’. So I then understood as much as I needed to — it was all about having a Party.

Now even in my 5 year old state of being I did know about Parties. You got Cakes and Sandwiches and people bought you presents — OK. Well I soon found out that the presents were going to a Queen and not to me or anyone else. But my biggest confusion was why would anybody want to have a party in the Road? Its all dusty and it might rain. And where would anyone sit, there were no chairs in the Road ??

Even my Political Uncle Sid was involved in his own way; he taught me how to make sure the Union Flag was the right way up — broad white diagonal stripe uppermost next to the flag pole, or stick if it was for waving. As a (proto) Communist he was quite concerned about getting flags right — or getting to the right flag anyway. He did tell me England, Ireland, Scotland make up the Union Flag but he lost me at ‘Saltire’. Historically viewers in Wales have their own Logo and its not a Dragon on a stick.

I don’t really remember too much about the street party, despite all the mounds of sandwiches and cakes to be eaten and the frantic waving of flags that definitely went on. There were tables and chairs set out along our road and in my memory, children were swooped up and plonked on seats in front of the food with no thought at all for who was next to them or where their friends were. This is absolutely guaranteed to upset small (and bigger) children so I do remember lots of crying and kids being moved around and re-plonked in seats, by the same well meaning adults. It was a bit like they were working to some sort of ordained boy/girl seating mosaic that had gone badly adrift and which now needed a complete reordering.

However I do recall thinking that I couldn’t actually see the point of a real Queen or a King or their Family. Whereas I could readily see the reason for a football team; or a Party; or a cinema or a sweetshop. In my 5 year olds mind there wouldn’t be anything for them to do. Nobody really needed to rescue anyone from Castles any more and I didn’t think there were any Dragons left to fight Later on, when I began to read (and be read to) the best I could do was to recognise that as Royalty they had their uses in nursery rhymes. So all that those Kings; Queens, Princes; Princesses, Dukes, Barons and assorted other Sirs were good for, was as characters and story line fodder in books to entertain Children.

I suppose I still do really.

Nonetheless, I can definitely relate to an elderly lady in her Nineties, who has recently lost her Husband; who for various reasons has been in the Public eye for most of her years; who is trying hard to make a go of life in the time she has left to her. Like most other very elderly people, she has successfully outlived almost all of her immediate family and wider kin. Disappointingly however, like many other folk who are ‘of an age’ and who hanker after a public portrait of quiet respectability. She is nonetheless dogged by the antics and machinations of her own Royal Family.

These Heirs and Remainers now make up the current disparate bunch of relatives. They are variously seen as; immediate; close; less than close; far; reluctant and Who are they? Plus the obligatory gaggle of relatives who are really bloody distant but who still attract more attention than they deserve. Some of the really close ones have been legally exposed as definitely dodgy whilst most of the others have made a life out of trading on the family name in return for various monies and privilege.

There is a present fad in the media for referring to some of the relatives and immediate family as ‘Working Royals’. Whilst this is clearly to the delight of the Posh Palace PR People Machine, it really begs the very obvious question — what on Earth are they working at or on? What do they do? What do they produce? Or even, in the end what Fungible difference do they make?

Having begun the pretense that these folk are involved in employment in any way. The Palace WokeSpokesFolk have been authorised to refer to some of the Family as ‘Non Working Royals’ — or state supported scroungers as some would otherwise have it.

But, it was nice to see Mrs Queen happily standing beside some of the Family on the Balcony the other day. What a pity Andrew had Diplomatic Covid for the weekend.

Be Well.



Ray Massey

Intelligent, sensitive, humorous writer — new to this stuff. Offering life comments and observations from a Grumpy Old Man.