Saturday 6 February 2010

The Queen's English

15st 5lb, zero units. The 58th anniversary of Her Majesty’s accession to the throne. Which reminds me that I have been a bit worried about Her Majesty ever since I read the Court Circular for 2 February, which revealed that she had spent the day at Royal Air Force Marham, Norfolk, where she “witnessed a flypast of aircraft and met service and civilian personnel to mark the one hundredth aircraft from the Combined Maintenance and Upgrade Unit.” Huh?
She then “drove to the Alpha Dispersal and viewed simulated sortie exercises and a demonstration of a Tactical Imagery Intelligence Wing Cabin.” Eh?

Then, after a spot of lunch in the Officers’ Mess (the one bit I did understand) Her Majesty “visited the Primary Care Rehabilitation Facility and subsequently opened the Multi Use Games Area at the Community Support Hub.”

What the f*** is all that about? As her consort of 62 years might well have put it, if she hadn’t had the presence of mind to leave him behind at Sandringham when she set out.

Not so long ago the Court Circular used to be full of delightfully old-fashioned flummery. No-one simply met the Queen; they “had the honour” of doing so. She “graced” events with her presence. Diplomatic guests would be described as “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary”. And so forth. The last redoubt of this sort of thing were the announcements issued from Clarence House until that sad day at Easter 2002, on behalf of the late Empress of India and Queen of Ireland. It is bad enough missing the old ways, without having them replaced with the sort of language that the Plain English Society was founded to search and destroy.

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