I've lived like royalty this week. I spent two days at a destination spa hotel in Peebles, which was a functioning castle in its former life. Sleeping in a sumptuous bed; being waited on hand and foot; having beautiful meals served to me by charming, attentive staff and lounging beside an infinity pool with a spectacular view of the magnificent Peebles countryside - it made me wonder what it must be like to live as one of the truly privileged. This life is something I could get used to. Or could I?
It's the Queen's birthday today. Her actual birthday. She is 87 years old. As I watched her and Prince Philip arrive at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher earlier this week, a thought came to my mind. Just how privileged does our Queen feel on a daily basis? I wonder how often in her 60 year reign she's not gone into work because she had a terrible headache. How often has she been able to take her children for a pizza and a movie on the spur of the moment? How often has she had to entertain people she finds really rather disagreeable?
Infact, the Telegraph reports today that, since 1984, the Queen has performed some 15000 official engagements.
One of my favourite movies, the Prince and the Pauper, tells the story of a poor boy swapping places with the Prince by mistake and what happens to them both as a result. Oliver Reed is swashbuckling as ever, Raquel Welch is heartstoppingly beautiful and the evil brother is beyond wicked. But, as with many of my favourite movies, what I find myself reflecting on the most, is the moral of the story. I won't give it away - it's a magnificent tale that I would highly recommend.
I wonder if the Queen would envy my life more than I envy hers. I value my freedom - freedom that is, to do pretty much what I want, with whom I want, when I want. That is something I value very much. I enjoyed sampling a life of privilege and I would swap places with the Queen. But only for a few days. Happy birthday your majesty and thank you for doing such a wonderful job.
StoboCastle outof10? - 9.25
The Prince and the Pauper outof10? - 8.7
The Queen outof10? - 10..
As always, a great piece of music with a tenuous link....