The Queen once visited our home town during my childhood many years ago. I can’t quite remember the year, but I recall the Union flags for sale in local shops, from tiny, sandcastle-type ones to big ones printed on cotton and pinned to wooden poles. The most expensive flags even had a picture of the Royal couple in the centre. Of course those were still patriotic times and we looked forward to the great day with real enthusiasm.
Anyway, my brother and I had decent-sized flags on wooden poles for waving as the Queen drove by. I don’t think we quite knew what to expect, but we certainly knew we hadn’t waved a flag at anyone before. When the day arrived, Mum, Dad, my brother and I all went to a cousin’s house because they lived near the route to be taken by the royal car. It was some distance from the centre of town, but by the time we arrived the road was already lined with people wanting to catch a glimpse of our young Queen.
The actual drive-past though was a disappointment. A black Rolls-Royce swished past, I caught a glimpse of a white gloved hand and that was that. Flags all done with after one or two waves - not likely to be needed again in a hurry. I think even the adults had expected something more, because we youngsters caught their sense of being a little let-down after all the hype.
It was a small thing, but the disappointment stayed with me, not as an abiding sense of dissatisfaction, but as a lesson to be absorbed and digested. It wasn't the Queen's doing of course, but they mould you, these things, teach you that official enthusiasm is not to be trusted.