The SYP at the Diamond Jubilee

Posted on June 19, 2012 in Uncategorized

Over the first weekend in June, it can’t have escaped anyone’s notice that Britain – and London in particular – was celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee. One of the main events on the 5 June was a lunch hosted by the Livery Companies of the City of London.

Each Livery Company had been allocated a table or half a table and asked to invite guests who were representative of the industries they worked with and the charitable endeavours they support – and having hosted two SYP events at their beautiful hall in Ave Maria Lane, I was honoured to be asked to represent the SYP by the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers. The Stationers Company is a historic institution dating back to 1403, but has managed to stay relevant and progressive and still plays a key role in the communications industries.

From the moment my gold-edged invitation arrived from the Lord Chancellor, I was extremely excited to be involved in such a fabulous event – one which, of course, entirely justified buying a new dress! The lunch was held in the historic Westminster Hall, one of the oldest parts of the Houses of Parliament. With all the tables beautifully laid out and the National Children’s Orchestra providing musical entertainment, it was easy to imagine the medieval banquets the Hall must once have hosted, and it felt very special to be part of such a long tradition.

The food, cooked by her Majesty’s favourite chef, was simple, elegant and delicious. The Orchestra were incredibly talented, and there was just the right level of pomp and ceremony to really elevate the occasion. Although none of the Royal Family made speeches, the lunch was intimate enough – with each member of the Royal Family sitting with the guests of a different table – to afford every guest a good view of proceedings as they formally processed out.

What made the event truly memorable, however, was the wonderful company and convivial atmosphere. At the Stationers’ table, guests included Past and Present Masters of the Company, Royal Marines, a photojournalism student, an expert in oak carving, the Director of a charity running weekend schools, the Director of a publishing company – and me! Conversation flowed and it was fascinating to discuss so many different topics – from medieval manuscripts to e-book publishing in China, from the order of precedence of the Livery Companies to anecdotes from one guest about planning her wedding. Speaking also to guests at other tables, it was clear just how happy everyone was to be there – and very proud, also, to play a small part in the historic Jubilee celebrations. Long live the Queen!