Tag Archives: Queen

Last Goodbye to the “Iron Lady”


4月8日に87歳で亡くなったマーガレット・サッチャー元首相の葬儀が、本日セントポール大聖堂で行われた。1965年のウィンストン・チャーチル元首相以来、約半世紀ぶりに政治家の葬儀に参列したエリザベス女王夫妻や、キャメロン首相をはじめとする歴代政治家、約170カ国からの招待客など、2300人以上が元首相の死を悼んだ。元首相の棺がウェストミンスター国会議事堂からからセントポール大聖堂に運ばれる間も、沿道にはたくさんの市民が集まり、最後の別れを惜しんだ。→写真:Daily Mail

「鉄の女」と呼ばれた「Baroness Thatcher(イギリス人は称号をつけてこう呼ぶ)」は在任中、ご存知のように弱者切り捨てとみなされた「サッチャリズム」を断行。「sick man of Europe(ヨーロッパの病人)」と言われたイギリス経済を見事立て直した反面、その強硬な態度で敵も多く作った。サッチャー元首相が亡くなった日や今日の葬儀の際、抗議行動をする人たちもいたが、元首相の死を喜ぶパーティをしたり、元首相をかたどった首つり人形を吊るしたり、ひどいコメントを書いたプラカードを掲げたりと、死者の尊厳を無視するヒステリックなやり方には、ちょっと首を傾げたくなる(Guardian / Examiner)。相手は、まだまだ男尊女卑の強かった時代、しかも上流階級出身者の多い保守党の党首として(サッチャーは中流階級出身)イギリス初の女性元首となり、男性以上の強いリーダーシップをもって20世紀イギリスで最も長期間となる3期11年を務めあげた超人である。在任中、彼女に投票・支持した数多くの有権者、そして今日彼女の死を悼む大多数の人たち(ちなみに抗議する人たちは少数派)に対して失礼千万だ。「切り捨てられた」人には同情するし(それでも社会保障は他国に比べて恵まれていると思う)、その時代を生きた世代の人が抗議するならまだわかるが、抗議者の多くは、サッチャーが首相を務めていた頃はまだ生まれてもいない、流行の洋服に身を包んだ貧乏とも思えない若者たち。全く説得力がない。どんなに素晴らしいリーダーでも、全ての人を幸せにすることはできないし、サッチャー元首相は疲弊していた国の経済を立て直し、多くの人々の人生を豊かにした立役者なのだ。今日の繁栄を享受しているかのように見える彼らだけれど、サッチャー以前の停滞状態に戻りたいのか??

話は変わるが、今日この葬儀の場で、新しい「スター」が誕生した。それは、サッチャー元首相の19歳の孫娘・Amanda Thatcher。凛とした美少女で、祖母の葬儀で見事な弔辞を読み上げ、注目を浴びた(Telegraph / Guardian / Evening Standard / Mirror / Daily Mail)。現在アメリカの大学に通っている彼女の一挙手一投足に、今後注目が集まりそう。

Today is a grieving day for many British (and a joyful day for few unforgiving people to what “Iron Lady” did) – the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who passed away on April 8th, was taken place at St. Paul’s Cathedral, attended by more than 2,300 guests including the Queen, who joined the politician’s funeral service for the first time since Winston Churchill’s funeral in 1965, as well as generation of British politicians and foreign dignitaries from 170 countries (guest list: ABC news). Also thousands of mourners gave a farewell while her casket had been carried from the Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral (and few protesters without respect). →photos: Daily Mail

Baroness Thatcher (British call her like this with title) was a controversial political figure and created many enemies as well as admirers. But we should admit that she was a pioneer of female politician who was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century with 11 years in the office, during the time when still sexism was strong. Her strong leadership and determination made UK revived from the “sick man of Europe” to one of the most powerful countries in the world again. To my eyes, some protestors to Thatcher went too far, and it is a bit sickening to see; partying & celebrating her death, hanging “Thatcher” doll, or putting up placards with derogatory remarks (ex. Guardian / Examiner). No respect to the deceased former prime minister first of all, and voters who democratically elected her for three times in 11 years, and mourners in much bigger numbers than the protesters. I feel sorry for the people who were affected by her tough policies (though still British social welfare system is much better than many other countries), and at least I understand the older generation or people in mining towns are still upset, but many protesters were ‘hip’ young students who were not even born yet while she was in power – how can they be so angry?! No leader can make everyone happy, but Thatcher at least made many better off, though not everyone, and they should respect that. Or those young people who apparently enjoy today’s UK’s prosperity want to go back the time when the nation was in bad condition before Thatcher??

By the way, today a new ‘star’ emerged from the funeral – Amanda Thatcher, 19-year old beautiful granddaughter of Baroness Thatcher, who made a awesome reading in the service. Lots of people are talking about her now! →TelegraphGuardian / Evening StandardMirror / Daily Mail


Wanted: Housekeeping Assistant for Buckingham Palace

10月21・22日付のTelegraph(テレグラフ)紙Sky Newsで、エリザベス女王や王室に仕えるハウスキーピング・アシスタント(所謂メイド)募集が、王室公式ウェブサイトに掲載されたとの報道があった。王室メンバーやゲスト用ベッドルーム52室、大広間19室、78ものバスルームを含む部屋数775室を誇り、年間5万人の貴賓やゲストが訪れる、世界で最も有名な王宮であるバッキンガム宮殿で働けるなんて、滅多にないチャンス。しかも王室のマナーやエチケットを学べ、履歴書の超目玉にもなる。申し込み締め切り日はあいにく10月26日だったらしいが、約1200人もの従業員を擁する王室のウェブサイトの求人情報には、随時求人が掲載されている。


According to the news on Telegraph (Oct 21) and Sky News (Oct 22), the Queen put an advert on the official website of the British Monarchy, looking for housekeeping assistant who works for her. It is a great experience, working at the Buckingham Palace, the most popular royal residence in the world where more than 50,000 people visit each year, with 775 rooms including 52 royal and guest bedrooms, 19 state rooms and 78 bathrooms. You can learn royal etiquettes, and it will be a great addition to your CV or résumé, or at least, you have so many things to talk to your friends & family. Interested? Unfortunately, the application deadline was October 26 and it was too late. However, the monarchy employes around 1,200 people, and you can check the vacancies online for other jobs.

It is interesting to see what you would get and what you would do, if you could get the job. The wage is £273@week or £14,200@year for 40-hours@week labour, and food and accommodation is provided. There is a long lists of tasks on the advert (see the job description below), but in short, the post-holder is responsible for “high-quality cleaning, presentation and guest care,” and is required to travel to other Royal residences such as Balmoral, Sandringham, and Windsor, for three months of the year. She (or he?) must: be friendly, polite and meticulous; possess good time management skills; be able to prioritise tasks; be reliable; be punctual; and commit to maintaining and providing the highest standards of service and care. I would really want to see who got this job!

Olympic Women’s Volleyball Preliminary Round @ Earl’s Court




My Olympic experience No.3 was volleyball preliminary games (Japan vs UK, Italy vs Russia) at Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre. The venue is just in front of the west exit but we had to walk from the east exit quite a while on the day, as the east side was exit only and west side was entrance only to avoid the chaos. We went to Earl’s Court Exhibition Centre several times for 100% Design (past entries: 2009 / 2010). The place is like a huge tasteless warehouse with concrete floors and a bit dark, but it was quite lively with lots of spectators.

Atmosphere inside was full of enthusiasm as British team competed on the first game. The guy with microphone was busy cheering up the audience by talking excitedly and let people who were showed on screen to beat illustrated drums appeared on the screen. Cheerleaders were dancing with the loud music during the timeouts or in-between sets. So much noise all through the games! I understand that they tried to do anything to entertain the people, but it was too much. Now I am sick of Queen‘s “We Will Rock You“, which has been played repeatedly in all Olympic venues…

This day, Japan beat UK 2-0 on the first game and Russia won with 3-2 to Italy on the second. The game of Russia and Italy was heated up for full-sets and was very exciting, but M got bored while watching the first game – I was happy that Japan won, but I wished UK played a bit better…

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Weekend

イギリスは明日から、エリザベス女王のDiamond Jubilee(戴冠60周年)を祝う4連休となる。街はすっかりお祭りムード。国を挙げてお祝い気分を盛り上げ、不況打開・関連消費拡大を狙ってる感が、無きにしもあらずだが。

6月3日午後は、メインイベントである、王室メンバーが乗り込む王室専用船を含む1000艘以上の船が、バタシーからタワー・ブリッジまで、テムズ川を航行するThames Diamond Jubilee Pageant(テムズ・ダイヤモンド・ジュビリー・ページェント)が行われる。また、道にテーブルや椅子を並べて近所の人たちや友人たちと飲み食いしながらお祝いするストリート・パーティやピクニックランチ等、大小様々な形態の「The Big Jubilee Lunch(ビッグ・ジュビリー・ランチ)」もこの日、全国津々浦々で催される予定。→イベント詳細はここ

別にアンチ王室ではないけれど、私たちは人混みと混乱を避けてロンドンを脱出します(Royal Weddingの時も不在だった)。Have a happy Diamond Jubilee weekend!

4-day Diamond Jubilee holiday will start from tomorrow and now the country is in a big celebration mood – though it seems to me that media and business are trying to pump up a bit harder to stimulate the country’s economy in recession, rather than everyone is really into it.

Sunday of June 3rd is the big day. The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will take place on the Thames, and around 1,000 boats including the royal barge will travel between Battersea and Tower Bridges. For people who don’t want to squeeze themselves in big crowds on the riverside, there will be the Big Jubilee Lunch: street parties or picnics in parks, in small or larger groups, all over the country. → more details of the Diamond Jubilee weekend

We are going to leave London during this period, though it doesn’t mean that we are anti-Queen, but we just want to avoid the big chaos (we run away during the Royal Wedding as well). Have a happy Diamond Jubilee weekend, everyone in UK!

Marks & Spencer Diamond Jubilee Collection

6月2〜5日に予定されている、エリザベス女王ダイアモンドジュビリーの祭典(王室公式サイト)にあわせて発売された、マークス&スペンサーの商品たち。缶入りのショートブレッドやチョコレート、マシュマロをチョコレートでコーティングしたTeacake、ペーパーナプキン、紙皿等々。イギリス国旗、女王の横顔、またロンドンの様々なアイコンをあしらった、レトロでキュートなパッケージは、クリスマス商品(参照ブログ記事)も手がけたイラストレーターのPhil Hankinson(フィル・ハンキンソン)氏がデザインした。期間限定商品で、イギリス土産にもぴったり。


These are the Marks & Spencer’s products, celebrating Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend (June 2 – 5 →official website of the British Monarchy). These cute retro packages with Union Jack, Queen’s silhouette, and London’s various icons, are designed by an illustrator Phil Hankinson who was also in charge of M&S’s Christmas products (past entry). Treats such as shortbread and chocloate in tin boxes, teacakes (chocolate coated marshmallows), as well as party wares such as paper napkins and dishes – these limited period products are also perfect for souvenirs from Britain.

I will have a break from blog until May 22, though just after 4-day Easter weekend.  See you soon :-)

State Opening of Parliament 2009

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イギリス議会の2009−10年度会期が始まった。初日である昨日11月18日には、「State Opening of Parliament(議会開会式)」と呼ばれる伝統に則った華麗なセレモニーが、議事堂であるウェストミンスター宮殿で行われた。

議会開会式は、通常11月が12月、または総選挙の年の新しい議会の初日に行われる。議会開会式ではまず、ヨーマン・オブ・ザ・ガードにより、現代版火薬陰謀事件を防ぐという名目で、ウェストミンスター宮殿の地下室をくまなく調べる。君主である女王が住居を出る前には、House of Commons(庶民院)の議員が、女王の安全を守るという名目のために、儀式上の人質としてバッキンガム宮殿に連れて行かれるが、女王が無事帰ってこられた折りには解放されることになっている。女王は、公式馬車で議会に到着。女王が儀式に出席しておられる間は、イギリスの国旗・ユニオンジャックに代わり、「Royal Standard」と呼ばれる王旗が掲げられる。そして、

ローブと王冠を身につけた女王が、エジンバラ公に付き添われ、House of Lords(貴族院)に入場されると、庶民院議員を召喚するために黒杖官(こくじょうかん、Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod)が議場に遣わされる。黒杖官が扉の前まで来ると、目の前でドアがばたんと閉められるが、これは庶民院の独立性の象徴だとのことだ。その後、黒杖官は持っている杖で3度ドアを叩いたあと、中に招き入れられる。

そして、守衛官Serjeant-at-Arms)が英国下院議長の職杖(ceremonial mace)を手に、議長、黒杖官とともに、二人一組になった庶民院議員を率いて、貴族院に向かう。首相と野党党首が通常並んで歩き(今年はゴードン・ブラウンデービッド・キャメロン)、その後2列になった議員たちが続く。庶民院議員はスピーチの間、女王の反対側に当たる横木の後ろに立って聞いている。女王は中立性を示す平坦な語りによって、「Speech from the Throne」または「Queen’s Speech(女王演説)」と呼ばれる、内閣によって用意された政府の来年度の施政方針を読みあげる。その後は、両議員とも議場に戻り、スピーチの議題を議論する、と言う段取りだ。

伝統を重んじるイギリスらしい、時代錯誤とも思える儀式だが、君主である女王、庶民院、貴族院による国の統治と、それぞれの独立性を国民に示すという意味で、重要なのだそうだ。恥ずかしながら、7年間イギリスに住んでいながら、この儀式をちゃんと見たことはおろか、その存在すらも意識していなかったのだが、少し前に議会見学ツアーに参加したので、今年の「State Opening of Parliament」は興味を持って見た。儀式の所作ひとつひとつに歴史的意味があり、その意味を知れば知る程面白いなあと思う。

ちなみに約75分のこの議会見学ツアー、見所満載の歴史あるウェストミンスター宮殿の中をゆっくり見て回ることができ、経験豊富なツアーガイドがユーモアたっぷりに歴史や蘊蓄を語ってくれる。出口には小さいお土産物のショップもあって、「Parliament」ロゴのお土産も買えるので、ご興味がある方はぜひ(Parliament Website)。しロンドンに来るのが無理なら、オンラインツアーもありますよ。Yesterday on November 18 was the day of the annual State Opening of Parliament to marks the commencement of a 2009-10 session of the Parliament. It is held in the House of Lords Chamber, usually in November or December, or in a General Election year when the new Parliament first assembles.


In this lavish ceremony, firstly the cellars of the Palace of Westminster are searched by the Yeomen of the Guard in order to prevent a modern-day Gunpowder Plot. Before the monarch departs her residence, the Crown takes a member of the House of Commons to Buckingham Palace as a ceremonial hostage, to guarantee the safety of the Queen. But don’t worry, the hostage is released upon the safe return of the Queen.

The Queen arrives at the Parliament in a horse-drawn coach. The Royal Standard is hoisted to replace the Union Jack on the Queen’s entrance and remains while she is in attendance. After she takes on the Robes of State and the Imperial State Crown, the Queen proceeds to the House of Lords, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh.

Then Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod is called to summon the member of the Commons to hear her speach. When he approaches the doors to the chamber of the Commons, the doors are slammed in his face on his approach – symbolising the independence of the Commons. He strikes the door three times with his Black Rod, and is then admitted.

The Serjeant-at-Arms picks up the ceremonial mace and, with the Speaker and Black Rod, leads the Members of the House of Commons to walk in pairs towards the House of Lords. The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition (Gordon Brown and David Cameron this year) usually walk side by side, followed by the two lines of MPs. Inside the chamber, the Commons stand behind the Bar of the House of Lords, and remain there during the speech.

The Queen reads a prepared speech written by the Cabinet, known as the Speech from the Throne or the Queen’s Speech, outlining the Government’s agenda for the coming year, in the presence of members of both Houses. The Queen reads the entire speech in the same tone, so as to indicate her neutrality. Following the State Opening, the Government’s programme presented in the Queen’s Speech is debated by both Houses.

This anachronistic State Opening of Parliament is not a mere historical ritual but also has symbolic significance to demonstrate the governance of UK; the Crown-in-Parliament (Her Majesty, together with the House of Commons and the House of Lords) and the separation of powers. Embarrassed say but I had never paid attention nor was I aware of the ceremony at all during my 7 years life in UK, but I happened to have a chance to join a tour of the Parliament the other day, and I enjoyed watching this year’s State Opening – each ceremonial process and action has its historical meaning and the more I know, the more intriguing.

The 75 minutes tour of Parliament offers you to see inside of the historical Westminster Palace with an experienced tour guide explaining its history and episodes with full of British (old man’s) humor.  If you are interested, check our their website for details. If you cannot come to London, online tour is available as well :-)

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Remembrance Sunday: National Commemoration @ Whitehall

CenotaphPoppy Appeal @ Oxford Circus

今日11月8日はRemembrance Sunday(休戦記念日曜日)、Remembrance Day(リメンバランス・デー/戦没者追悼記念日)の記念式典が行われた。Poppy Day(ポピーの日)、Armistice Day(第一次大戦の休戦記念日)、Veterans Day(退役軍人の日)とも呼ばれるRemembrance Dayは、第一次世界大戦とその後の戦争の死者を追悼する日で、1918年11月11日に連合国ドイツ帝国の間で休戦協定が締結されたことに因み、11月11日と定められている。当日11月11日にも2分間の黙祷が捧げられるが、通常、Remembrance Sundayと呼ばれる11月の第2週目の日曜日に、ロンドンのWhitehallホワイトホール)にあるCenotaph(慰霊碑)前で、王室関係者や政府要人が参加して行われる国の追悼式典のほか、各地の戦争記念碑(war memorials)で慰霊祭が行われる。


この時期、イギリスでは、胸に紙製の赤いポピーの花をつけている人を多く見かける。これは、1921年にRoyal British Legion(英国在郷軍人会)が、戦没者への募金を集めるために赤いポピーを売ったのが始まりで、第一次世界大戦の激戦地・西部戦線(フランドル戦線)のあった、フランダース地方に多く生えている赤い芥子の花(フランダース・ポピー)に由来しており、赤い色は戦争で流された血を意味する。この紙製のポピーは、退役軍人によって作られており、英国在郷軍人会の名の下で、街角での募金活動やスーパーなどの店頭で販売され、収益は退役軍人のサポートに当てられる。上の写真はオックスフォード・サーカスの街角での募金活動。下の写真は、Angel(エンジェル)の街角で、赤いタータンチェックのキルトに身を包んで、道行く人と楽しそうに話しながら募金活動していたおじいさんをスーパーで発見、こっそり撮影させていただきました。

Today is Remembrance Sunday and the Remembrance Day national commemoration was held in London’s Whitehall. The remembrance day, also known as Poppy Day, Armistice Day (the event it commemorates) or Veterans Day, is a day to commemorate the sacrifices of members of the armed forces and of civilians in times of wars since the First World War. It is observed on 11 November to recall the end of World War I on that date in 1918, when German signed the Armistice. Although two minutes of silence are observed on 11 November itself, but on Remembrance Sunday (the second Sunday of November), ceremonies are held at local war memorials nationwide, and the national commemoration is held at Cenotaph in Whitehall to remember those men and women who have died in action serving their country.

Under the gray sky at the this year’s national commemoration in Whitehall, the Queen Elizabeth laid the first wreath of poppy flowers at the start of a 20-minute religious service, in front of the prime minister, military leaders, representatives of the world’s religions, and Commonwealth representatives. After two-minute silence at 11 am, 7,500 ex-service personnel and 1,600 civilians marched past the Cenotaph. →BBC news

Around the Remembrance Day, you see many people wearing red poppy flower made of paper, as a sign of remembrance. The poppy emblem was chosen because of the poppies (Flanders poppy) that bloomed across one of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, with their red color which is an appropriate symbol for the bloodshed of trench warfare. This artificial poppies are made by veterans and are sold on behalf of the Royal British Legion on the street by volunteers or at the stores. The sale go towards supporting former soldiers. The photo above is the fund raising at the junction of Oxford Circus. The photo below is the old gentleman in red tartan kilt, who sold the poppies at the street corner of Angel and enjoyed chatting with a passerby. I happened to have a chance to take a picture of him (secretly) at the Waitrose supermarket.

Poppy Appeal

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