Надежда Никифоровна Рогожина, проректор по международным программам, зав. кафедрой лингвистики и межъязыковой коммуникации Самарского муниципального университета Наяновой, кандидат педагогических наук, доцент.
Директор негосударственного учреждения дополнительного образования “World Class-Samara”.
This time my column was inspired by a BBC documentary about the Queen’s 80th birthday which was shown on our Russian TV.
Although her real birthday is on April 21, it is traditionally celebrated as an official birthday on the 3rd Saturday of June. Queen Elisabeth II is Britain’s most visible and representative figure. It’s not difficult to spot her in a crowd: immaculate tailoring, vivid colours and almost always a fabulous matching hat. She is a person to admire and respect – and an example to be followed (at least as far as hats are concerned!)
Quite recently my friend David Wright (our permanent author, you remember) sent me a special magazine “Majesty” dedicated to that event. I would like share with you some of the material from it. Let’s look through it together!
The Early Days
The future Queen Elisabeth II was born at her maternal grandparents’ house in London’s Bruton Street at 2.40 am on 21 April 1926, the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York.
Princess Elisabeth’s early years were spent in London or at various homes of her parents’ relations, with many long holidays at Glamis Castle in Scotland. It was not a particularly royal upbringing; indeed the Duchess of York did her best to afford her daughter as normal life as possible. She taught the Princess to read and write and to speak French and she read to her from the Bible.
Princess Elisabeth grew up a serious girl. In her character there is an element of the head girl1 of a smart girl’s school. She learned to prefer facts to opinions and to expect people to listen to her and to take in what she said. She developed a retentive2 mind, with an excellent memory, despite a slightly haphazard3 education.
The Second World War dominated the lives of the family during the years that Princess Elizabeth contributed to the war effort by making a broadcast to the children of Britain in October 1940. When she was old enough, in January 1945, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service4 and learned how to deal with armoured vehicles5.
Just before the outbreak of war, princess Elizabeth had met the man she would presently marry. The King and Queen took the Princess with them on a visit to Dartmouth in July 1939, and young Prince Philip of Greece was there. The accepted6 version is that it was love at first sight so far as the princess was concerned. While Prince Philip (then styled7 Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten) served throughout the war in the Royal Navy, they maintained a correspondence.
It was in South Africa that she turned 21, pledging her life to duty in a memorable speech broadcast across the world.
The engagement8 was announced on 19 July 1947 and the couple appeared together the next day at Buckingham Palace garden party. The wedding took place at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947, and was one of the first major royal occasions since the war, giving some of hope for the future to a nation just emerging from years of war and deprivation9.
Elizabeth and Philip
For a husband-and-wife team who are 85 and 80 years old respectively10, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh maintain a schedule that would challenge couples many years their junior.
In 2002, the Queen celebrated her Golden Jubilee. This year, it is her 80 birthday and, completing this trio of landmark events, next year Elizabeth and Philip will celebrate an impressive 60 years of marriage. The Queen and her husband are third cousins. Philip is directly descended from Queen Victoria via11 his maternal grandmother, princess Victoria of Hesse.
Their first four years were probably some of their happiest. Making their home at Clarence House, Philip was head of the household in between the periods he was away on Naval duty in Malta. In November 1948, Prince Charles was born at Buckingham Palace; Anne followed two years later.
The honeymoon period of Elizabeth and Philip’s marriage was short-lived. By 1951, it was clear that George VI was seriously ill. The couple flew in his place to Kenia on 31 of January 1952, the first leg12 of a tour that would take them to Australia and New Zealand. The King waved them off at Heathrow, but on 6 February he died peacefully in his sleep at Sandingham. Elizabeth was queen. Churchill, her first Prime Minister, said to his doctor, ‘All the film people in the world, if they had scoured13 the globe, could not have found anyone so suited14 to the part’. From the beginning she felt her sense of duty with deep conviction and she knew that on the many occasions that duty would call, her role as monarch would always take precedence15 over her role as either wife or mother.
To be concluded…
1 head girl – староста (в женской школе) 2 retentive – цепкий 3 haphazard – бессистемный 4 Auxiliary Territorial Service – Вспомогательная территориальная служба (женская; во время 2-й мировой) 5 armoured vehicles – бронетанковая техника 6 accepted – общепринятый 7 to style – (зд.) именовать 8 engagement – помолвка 9 deprivation – лишение 10 respectively – соответственно 11 via – через 12 leg – этап 13 to scour – рыскать 14 suited – подходящий 15 to take precedence – превосходить