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Take a bow…

Take a bow... | Contini

Good Morning Lovely People,

The difference between the new PM (, the rest of us) and the Princess Royal can all be summed up in a curtsy.

Gentlemen, have you ever tried to curtsy? It’s the most unnatural, awkward thing. Men get off with a nod. Women get their legs contorted, twisted below their body, head pointed down and arms almost tied by your sides. Princess Anne has not only perfected her curtsy she’s been bred to execute it, with precision and grace.

The Royal Family have demonstrated yet again they are masters of ceremony. Strikingly beautiful orchestrated performances. Even in times of grief, never a step wrong. Even if you’re not a royalist, you have to agree, the whole show is a class act.

We’ve all fallen in love with the late Queen, just a little more, over the last few weeks. The beautiful innocent warm smile of her youth was so visible in that final photo of her frail but gentle presence at Balmoral. It’s been a long eleven days.

Dying in Scotland was a strategic stroke of genius. Operation Unicorn was a great business decision for the Royal Firm and an even better one for Scotland. Perhaps a wish come true too for HRH? Royal Deeside to the Royal Mile shown in all its glory. We could not have looked cleaner (good job it wasn’t a few weeks before), keener or greener. There wasn’t a Union Flag or a Saltire to be seen unlike the red white and blue so visible south of the border. Cannie Scots or subdued respect? It was easy to see why the Queen loved Scotland so very much and it was equally wonderful to see how much Scotland loved her, the weather included. Hats off to the lady that viewed her coffin seven times at The High Kirk of Edinburgh, that deserves a medal and maybe a friendship group. The SNP delivered on their sovereignty manifesto promise and so did the Greens; Patrick Harvey showing his true colours, at the wrong time.

The Royal Family don’t refer to Buckingham Palace as the “Office” or the Monarch the “Boss” for nothing. Everything we’ve witnessed over the last few days has been in a very well crafted, long term, strategic plan (even the coffin is 30 years old) of one of the worlds most high profile Firms.

This note has been our first communication since the morning following the death of HRH. Respecting the period of “national mourning”, up until now, we’ve held back on all messaging. The mourning guidelines didn’t dictate but they provided consideration. The tone suggesting a suspension of some business operations has resulted in much restraint across the country. Even the momentous moments that are unfolding in Ukraine seemed to be pushed to the side lines. Public grief in certain quarters, very evident.

Is this just quintessentially British or is it bonkers?

The late Queen’s joys and tragedies are no different to any daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, friend but magnified to dazzling levels like the 317 carat Cullinan II diamond in the sunlight on Pall Mall.

I entered the period of mourning sombre and observed. I was glad when the spotlight moved to London so life could get back to normal a little here in Edinburgh. While I’ve been getting more than good value from our TV licence fee, was this, dis-proportionate to other life coverage? Eleven days later I’ve settled with a sigh.

The blue through royalists will be sending me to the Tower as I type but minutes before the announcement of the Queen’s passing, our new PM of less than three days, had made the biggest financial announcement of our generation. It will impact many lives for many years. The silence will have been deafening for those most affected. Many families will still face a winter of challenges.

Businesses are no less rested. They are patiently waiting to hear their part of the story. Implementation is expected as late as November which may be too late for some. Another Bank Holiday, although not statutory, will add to the disruption. In a period of economic crisis how and who will pay the price? Parts of the economy are frail and shocks like this are painful. The redundancies at Clarence House won’t be the only ones (Nonna G was considering recruiting). Protests, meetings, flights, football matches, bookings and events have been cancelled. Equally worrying are the cancellations that the NHS have faced with treatments and operations postponed. Was this really necessary?

We will be spending £100 billion plus tackling the energy crisis. The PM may be banking on global energy prices coming down below the new cap to secure her legacy. The OBR reported that Brexit will result in £100 billion in lost output and £40 billion in less revenue to the Treasury per year. 11 years of EU membership lost in one year is a painful silence. That’s without adding the lost share of the new £100 billion plus EU Energy Crisis Fund available to members. All putting any uncollected inheritance tax on £500 million in the shade.

Parliament which has been in virtual suspension since 7 July, suspended again during this period of national mourning. Surely a questionable decision in this economic climate? School day closures are part of the ritual of growing up but the disruption is anything but adding growth. Kwasi Kwarteng, the new Chancellor, will share his fiscal statement on Friday. Perhaps shortened due to the party conference season causing a further recess.

I often find myself referring back to my pre Covid self. I may have been more empathetic. I may have shed a few tears. Even yesterday, they didn’t surface.

Our monarchy is important. Scotland will benefit from the spotlight it’s been subject to. 96 years is a celebration not a devastation. Striking the correct tone is hard. I’m sad that I feel cold, or maybe that’s because I’ve turned the heating down. In a slimmed down monarchy for the 21st century we’ve witnessed all the pomp of a bygone era. Does Her Majesty’s 70 years of service, duty, dedication and good example warrant this level of pomp and ceremony? Is this deep display of affection also a reflection of the personal turmoil many have experienced in their own lives? Will this depth of show be a dying courtesy, reserved only for the Queen? We’ll have to wait and see if the next monarch will command the same emotion and the public are keen to see the same performance.

Keep well and practice bowing. It’s better for your knees.


PS My thoughts are with the Corgis, poor we sausages being left in the care of a Counsellor of State, interesting title and interesting choice, don’t you think.

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