In the years I’ve been your MP the question I get asked the most, especially by young people, is ‘have you met the queen?’.
Whatever people’s view of the institution of monarchy, respect and fascination for Queen Elizabeth runs very deep.
I remember being extremely moved when she addressed the nation at the start of covid, just as we fearfully entered the first lockdown. She ended by saying we would be together again, and it doesn’t escape me that the thing that has brought us together most significantly since that time is the platinum jubilee celebrations.
There’s been parties and events happening all weekend, but today in particular, our community was teaming with street parties. I visited as many as possible in Portslade, Hangleton and Hove. I am probably 97% cake at this point.
There’s simultaneously something very British and unBritish about all these street parties. It’s very British because of what we’re celebrating and how we do it, with bunting and trestle tables packed with sausage rolls. And slightly unBritish too because we’re not known for talking much to our neighbours, let alone spending the whole afternoon chatting, eating and dancing with them!
I saw so much happiness and heard so much laughter. Thank you to everyone who so kindly had me along to their events and celebrations, came over to chat or offered me food and drink. It’s been a long time since we were able to do this and it felt great.
I even got to plant a jubilee rose bush in Brunswick Square thanks to the LARA community accusation. That’s a first for me and as I pass through the square often, I’ll be checking on it’s progress.
Happy jubilee weekend, I hope you’ve had a great time. The queen has had a remarkable life of service and I’m deeply grateful for and respectful of her. Judging from her beaming smile on the balcony of Buckingham Palace that afternoon, I think she enjoyed things as much as we did. I truly hope she did.
I’m now on the train to London so I can get an early start in parliament tomorrow, it’s going to be another intense week in our political life and I want our community to have the strongest possible voice in these difficult and frustrating times.
PS in answer to that question: no, I’ve never met the queen, but I live in hope of an invite!