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As a child I spent many happy hours in the tiny house where my nursemaid's mother, Mrs Alder, lived. A typical English working class home of the day, the house had a cold front parlour with carefully draped chairs nobody ever sat in and elegant Stafford china nobody ever used, a comfortable back kitchen where we sat by a cozy fire, and two cramped bedrooms upstairs. It also boasted a fine collection of the Illustrated London Weekly. I loved to sit and look at the pictures of Royal galas and banquets in this magazine, admiring diamond-studded tiaras and satin ball gowns.
I was about eight years old when my father took me to Leicester to see the Queen. An innocent child, I expected to have some kind of mystical experience. I saw Her Majesty in the royal car, she waved at me--and nothing happened. I was just the same! I can still remember the shock of surprise.
Later, we inherited a television from Great Granny Ruchel. On state occasions such as Armistice Day and the Trooping of the Colour, we gathered round the black and white TV, while the inimitable Richard Dimbleby reverently narrated what colour outfit Her Majesty was wearing. And as a medical student I finally got a face-to-face meeting with Elizabeth II when she visited our medical school. This time, I did not expect a mystical experience!
It is perhaps because one of the first sentences I ever spoke was, "Hurrah the Queen," that, despite my generally progressive and radical approach to life, I remained loyal to Her Majesty. While my siblings espoused the Republican cause, I, from the safety of the United States, was still a Royalist. Still, that is, until the Arab youth shook me out of any remaining sentimentality. Although the Crown Prince of Bahrain has chosen to decline his invitation to the Royal Wedding, the fact is, he was invited, as is the King of Swaziland. It was an invitation that placed the supposed Divine Right of Kings above the human rights of the people of Bahrain. And it was also a violation of the rights of the British people, who clearly did not want a prince with the blood of his people on his hands at the Royal wedding. The invitation list showed me that the monarch is indeed not the servant of the people, but rather, still sees the people as subjects whose wishes and desires are of little import. And that in Royal eyes the colour of a man's pedigree is of more significance than the content of his character. It's time to switch from Hurrah the Queen to 'We shall overcome". Long live the noble citizens of Bahrain!