IT’S been a good couple of weeks to nail my colours to the mast as a proud royalist.
At a time when there seems to be so much turbulence and pain in the world, the continuity and stability of the Royal Family in our country and commonwealth look like an increasingly priceless asset.
If you are of a similar vintage to me, you might have felt a bitter-sweet moment when the announcement was made that the new baby would be called George.
By the time he ascends the throne, many of us will be long gone.
The very name is part of a long line with strong connections in our region and many playing fields bearing the name of King George the Fifth were created as a tribute after the death of that earlier holder of the name before the war.
I did a lot of my early running about on the King George V Playing Fields in Hartlepool, just five minutes from my birthplace on the Headland, and those permanently endowed spaces have been the source of enjoyment for millions of youngsters over the years.
By coincidence, I happened to be in just the right place in London not once, but twice, recently.
I had the great fortune to be at Lord’s Cricket Ground for the first day of the Ashes Test Match against Australia, which was marked by the two teams being presented to Her Majesty before start of play.
For the hour or so that the Queen watched the game, the Royal Standard fluttered over the pavilion in the sunshine and I wondered if you could find a more iconic moment than that.
I won’t embarrass the vacant TV interviewer I saw that evening asking the Australian captain how it felt to meet the “Queen of England.” The Aussie cricketer was amazingly polite not to fire back that the lady is also Queen of a vast Commonwealth which includes Australia still.
A few days later, we had another real treat with dinner at the stunning new Hutong restaurant in the newly completed Shard.
That Monday, July 22, was, of course, the evening when the birth of the new royal baby was announced, and we had a grandstand seat on a clear evening looking over the lights of London.
The carefully choreographed celebrations which followed were a good example of why nobody does proper celebration better than us Brits.
At the start of the evening, the London Eye was bathed in red, white and blue light as the news was awaited.
The second the news came in that the new arrival was a boy, the lights switched to all blue.
Looking around from our superb vantage point, we could see that other landmarks like Tower Bridge and the newer Millennium Bridge had also followed the theme. What struck me that evening was the sharing of pleasure at the news – it was like being part of a huge extended family.
Any new birth is a symbol of new hope and fresh beginnings, but that night was special.
Many readers will have tucked away their own souvenirs so that family members can look back on the day when the baby becomes a King.
I won’t be here to see that, but, like the majority, I take pride in having seen another step in a country which gets a lot right.