In hono[u]r of Her Royal Majesty’s birthday today (her 89th; my birthday is in a few days, so we’re obviously kindred spirits), I thought I would list eight of my favo[u]rite things about that beloved and best country of hers, England.
- The Literature. From John Donne to Maria Edgeworth to Sir Walter Scott to Jane Austen to Charles Dickens to P.G. Wodehouse to the great mystery writers to Virginia Woolf and beyond, England (and Scotland and Northern Ireland and Wales) has produced some of the finest, most brilliant minds who ever put pen to paper. And I am eternally grateful.
- The Tea. Well, we have China to thank for tea in the beginning, but the English really made it into an art, a thing of exquisite poetry. Oh, Earl Grey. You were my first love. Ahem. Moving on.
- The Countryside. The rolling, wild, heather-strewn hills of the Lake District and the village church nestled among the trees, the fields with happy horses and cows—England has some beautiful views, some of them breathtaking and some of them quietly lovely.
- The Royal Family. There is something eminently reassuring and stolid about the royal family, standing the test of time. The clothes. The fascinators. Prince George’s cuteness. The impeccable manners. Everything.
- The Places to Go. London has an amazing theatre scene—not to mention the Tower, the Palace, St. Paul’s, the shops, Westminster, etc.—and that’s just London. Tintagel, Canterbury, Tintern Abbey, Blenheim, Oxford, Cambridge. I’m dying.
- The Food. Hercule Poirot scoffs at English food—but he is, after all, Belgian, and I can forgive him. My response? Fish and chips. From anywhere in England. Enough said.
- The Animals. Honestly, can it get any cuter than foxes and hedgehogs? No. No, it can’t.
- The BBC. The best—and I mean THE best—films and television shows have come from the BBC. Keeping Up Appearances, North and South, Emma (2009)… Of course, the actors make these incredible as well.
So here’s a toast. (Of tea, of course.) To Her Majesty! God save the Queen.