Cowdray Park 1951

Robert's Thoughts

Comments (8) / April 30, 2021

April is a maddening month every year: not spring, not winter and certainly not summer. And this year we also had to endure COVID.

And the Chauvin trial and the difficulties with the Johnson vaccine and the first State of he Union message from Joe Biden that could not be called a State of the Union Address because tradition required that it not be called a State of the Union Address.

But it was.

Because Joe Biden addressed the nation 99 days after being sworn in during which he had managed to make of the US the nation which had administered more COVID vaccines proportionately than any other nation in the world, in spite of having to start from scratch.

And sadly, this April was the month in which Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh died. And the Queen lost her steadfast supporter, her closest confidant, her most trusted advisor.

Perhaps because so many of us have been forced to live alone due to COVID we all felt more moved by her loneliness than ever before.

Our heart went out to her when we saw her sitting, dressed in severe black, all alone in church, saying goodbye to her husband of 73 years. All alone.

All alone, at the age of 94 years. – cut off from human contact by protocol and by the curse of our days: COVID.

She was ALL ALONE, as so many of us are in this horrible nightmare that has descended upon us from God knows where.

I remember her as she was in 1951, seventy years ago almost to the day. It was a cloudy Saturday afternoon and the Headmaster of my school where I was boarding invited the Head Boy and me, the Assistant Head Boy, for a drive in the country in his pride and joy, a vintage Rolls Royce.

A monthly event – a way for the Head and his wife to keep in informal touch with the student population.

We drove to Cowdray Park where, on week-ends, the general public was welcome to watch the polo games organized there by the owner of the field, Viscount Cowdray. When we got there, the bobby directing traffic, impressed by the gorgeous Rolls in which we found ourselves, instinctively directed us to an area alongside the polo field reserved for Lord Cowdray and his guests.

Between chukkahs, a young woman in her twenties left the crowd watching the game some distance upfield from us and walked down to our little group of four standing in the drizzle and looking forlorn. She welcomed us and asked whether we were all right and enjoying the game.

Princess Elizabeth.

She was there to watch her husband, Prince Phillip, play polo.

                      

8 Responses to :
Cowdray Park 1951

  1. Jacob Potashnik says:

    What a lovely memory, Robert.

  2. Lincsi says:

    I enjoyed the story very much, what a wonderful memory for you.

  3. Liz says:

    So glad you were thinking about the Queen!! I have to say she handled the funeral with amazing dignity – not that we expected anything else. As for vaccines – that is the only aspect of the Covid crisis that the UK has handled properly – but we are grateful to have it – all over 40s have now been offered the vaccine and those aged 30+ adults will start getting it in the next few days. Glad also to see polo figured in your early life – very British!!

  4. Marilynn says:

    Compassionate reflection on Queen Elizabeth at her Prince`s funeral… I felt the same way.. and touching memory of meeting her at the polo match.

  5. Dr Andrew Gross says:

    Hello Robert- What a nice opus on an event decades ago – What a great lady! – Andras

  6. Marika Kemeny says:

    A wonderful memory presented in a beautifully crafted story. Every time I turn the page in my calendar (yes, a paper page), I look eagerly for your next story. And you never disappoint. Thank you, Robi and love from your second cousin.

  7. Erika says:

    Hello Robert,
    What a great story, so skillfully told, leading us from a mourning queen to a young queen welcoming you at her husband’s polo game. And you wrote it so skillfully, with the ending like a punch line to a mystery. From Venice, Ca. Erika

  8. janice arnold says:

    Too bad there were no selfies in those days…
    Lovely reminiscence. Perhaps memories are worth more than a picture.

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