Her Majesty the Queen is a tremendously good sport: whenever she reaches a notable anniversary or milestone the nation feels moved to celebrate the jubilee or birthday with a television spectacular or pop concert. And instead of holding such a thing at the O2 arena or Wembley Stadium, the nation decides to stage it outside and on the roof of her house and she goes along with it.
You will recall the Diamond Jubilee, marking 60 years of her reign, culminated in the Concert on the Mall. Among the performers were some of Her Majesty’s favourites – Grace Jones singing Slave to the Rhythm, a tune that the Queen is often known to whistle in her lighter moments. I grew up with Grace Jones (pictured) and I saw her in concert at the Puente Romano Hotel – she is unique – and I feel that my bond with the monarch is strengthened knowing that we share a taste for the Jones oeuvre. Then, of course, there was Ed Sheeran performing the A Team. This is not, as I had fondly imagined, a rendition of the theme tune of the popular television programme from the 1980s, but a ballad about class-A drugs (at least according to my rather more “down with the kids” friends at Wikipedia).
Now in the year of her 90th birthday, the caravanserai has moved to Windsor, where Ant and Dec, those indispensable participants in all major historic events, not least I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, will host an evening of entertainment that reunites many of those performers who worked together on her Diamond Jubilee.
There also seems to be an element of the evening specially calculated to appeal to the sovereign: as there will be 900 horses, among them those of Azerbaijan Cossack riders and the Canadian Mounted Police. If she had been hoping for a quiet Sunday night in front of the telly, or studying form for the upcoming Derby, this is not going to be it.
It promises to be a busy evening to which Swellboy adds more birthday wishes. I can’t help wondering how a grateful nation will mark her 100th birthday… I am sure Ant and Dec, who will doubtless be in the House of Lords by then, will think of something.