Over to the west the sun was setting in layers of red light and, because we were standing on the top of Beacon Hill, the sky seemed even more infinite. The skylarks were reminding us it was Evensong and the wild flowers embedded in the tussocked grass gave it a different feel in terms of scent and texture. Reaching out across the landscape, chequerboard fields studded with patchs of dark green trees stretch towards Oxford amongst which red brick houses turn into tiny yellow pinpricks of light as the day fades.
Beacon Hill is high for this part of southern England. Once upon a time it was called Weald Setl, “place of the chieftain” and nearby is the grave of Geordie’s great grandfather, the 5th Earl of Carnarvon who, along with Howard Carter, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen. He had always wished to be interred here, if he could, surrounded by over 3,000 years of history and near the sky.
At the top of the hill are the ramparts of a fort first built 2,000BC in the Iron Age where our ancestors celebrated and lived. Their way of life and agriculture continued until it was abandoned in the upheavals of the Roman invasion of England in 43BC.
Beacon Hill, as the same suggests, is a very effective place from which to communicate. Towering above the fields and hamlets, easy to see before the time of letters, telegrams, postcards, emails or phone masts, billowing fires contained in metal baskets or fire pits at the top of hills had to suffice to transmit urgent warnings – usually of invasion.
The word “beacon” has two meanings – that of a sign, portent or lighthouse whilst the Old Irish word suggest “white, light, ray of light”. This time we lit the the beacon for celebration and triumph, a tribute to a remarkable world leader, Her Majesty The Queen.
Without promulgating laws or campaigning for votes, she has nevertheless led this country with dedication, hard work and a spiritual (I suspect Her Majesty might say Christian) gravity. The Royal family treads a line between connecting with each of us in everyday life and being apart from us. Out of the destruction of the Second World War, the Queen has helped to build a sense of home and belonging, something positive around which to gather.
Unconnected to politics and immune to the survival techniques of successive governments, she has a uniquely long term view which is rarely replicated elsewhere.
It is easy in times of stress for values and culture to get lost, dismissed when firefighting subsumes normal judgement. At times the Queen has stepped back to make decisions and find the composure to walk forwards and been criticised for so doing. Yet perhaps it was about making stable judgements, learning to adapt without losing what is essential.
This Platinum Jubilee was remarkable – processions, pageantry, music, church services and, above all, villages and streets coming together to share food, to sing and dance and picnic in a uniquely British fashion, predictably in smatterings of rain. It is the music of life and what we all missed so much during the pandemic: a remarkable celebration of someone whose years of service encapsulates those values which help us stay together as a culture.
The Queen has done so much over such a long period of time that she is incomparable. Almost every speech she has made is designed to direct our thoughts towards connection, cooperation and friendship. One of her many achievements is undoubtedly the Commonwealth, in its deepest essence an organisation designed to help us come together, to pursue common goals and the common good. Even if we cannot achieve this, it is the path we should attempt to walk and no one exemplifies this more than the Queen.
“I shall give myself heart and soul every day of my life” was her promise to the nation which she has more than fulfilled and she is still remains – a beacon of steadiness and dedication in the midst of yet another global crisis.
MY DEAR LADY CARNARVON AND MONDAY FAMILY,
GOOD MORNING FROM BRAZIL,
MILADY, CONGRATULATIONS. LOVELY PLACE TO STAY FOREVER .THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR SHARING THIS UNFORGETABLE PLACE. HAPPY SUMMER FOR ALL THE CASTLE AND ALL THE PERSONS.
RIO CLARO – SP
What an incredible woman. Your country has every reason to be proud of her. Thank you for sharing your pictures of the beacons and a little bit of history.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for sharing a picture of your family’s Beacon honoring Her Majesty The Queen. Having recently returned from our first trip to London, and walking down the Mall, I got a slight sense (from TV footage) of the number of people that Respect, Appreciate, Love, and are Loyal to Her Majesty, a feeling that will never be experienced again in our lifetime. From San Francisco, Long Live The Queen!
Une femme extraordinaire!
In a world or chaos and turmoil Queen Elizabeth has always been so steadfast. Your commentary captures her beautifully.
Beautifully written piece and such a great lady is the queen. Photos are also magnificent.
You have expressed all our feelings about Her Majesty, the Queen and Our Country so beautifully, as
I’m sure that many of us would agree.
She has kept her word to everyone and given her life to this Country in a way that no other Monarch has ever done.
Long may and reign.
Vive la reine longue vie à la famille Royal!! And prince Louis
Queen Elizabeth represents a unifying figure apart from politics and she has fulfilled her vow. Parts of my family left the British Isles to go to America. I have felt an affinity for England, Scotland and Wales from a young age, encouraged by family. I love Queen Elizabeth for all she has given in service to the world by her example. Truly remarkable.
The Queen is truly remarkable
The Queen has definitely dedicated her life to Britain and the Commonwealth, Prince Charles will have big shoes to fill. I learned that you are going to be in Massachusetts to promote Highclere Castle Gin, I wished we’ve had time to organize something in the Washington DC area. Maybe next time.
Lady Carnarvon lovely pictures of beacons and did you lord Carnarvon have a nice long bank holiday weekend and l like the queen with Paddington bear very good and love to visit highcelere castle and thank you send me the email
Such a beautiful celebration for such a magnificent woman: Long live the Queen! May your beacon on Beacon Hill shine and inspire peace and togetherness in this world of strife. Your are truly an artist as you “paint” with your words. Thank you and may all at Highclere have a most happy and healthy summer!
“You are truly an artist as you “paint” with your words.”
I was born in England, now living in America, I watched the Jubilee celebrations from afar. I still have my Coronation mug I was given as a child.
Your writings today were so heartfelt and beautifully written. The sentence that touched me most was, “The Royal family treads a line between connecting with each of us in everyday life and being apart from us”. So true.
The Queen has done a remarkable job for 70 years. Thank you your Majesty..
Congratulations on preserving your coronation mug!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Beautiful words for an extraordinary leader. An example to us all, encouraging the most important values…kindness, humility and generosity. Her sense of humor surprises us in unexpected ways, and the Queen’s intellect and graciousness always shines through. It was great fun to watch the celebrations from here in the USA, and I learned more about her life and her humbling service.
Thank you for the wonderful Instagram posts- loved the pipes, the beacon fire and of course, your insights.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
The lighting of the Beacon was very special with the piper playing ‘Diu Regnare’
That lovely, lonely picture of the piper and the unlit beacon – near the late Lord Carnarvon’s grave – that must have touched many hearts. Beautiful and haunting.
Good Bless the Queen. Beautifully put Lady Carnarvon.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Her Majesty The Queen is indeed incomparable and we are so lucky to have her. What a marvellous celebration we’ve had over the last few days.
Thank you again for your interesting post.
Your story today is truly a beautiful tribute to Her Majesty. It brought tears to my eyes. I was reminded of the beacons lighting the way for England’s pilots returning from missions in World War II. Thank you.
I have always been devoted to English history, but no more so than with the events surrounding the festivities as well as the spiritual events honoring the Queen and Royal Family these past days. I hope you and Lord Carnarvon were among those attending.
I am so proud to have a Coronation cup for her parents, King George and Queen Elizabeth, which my mother left to me along with tea cups like the one Paddy failed to fill in his meeting with Her Majesty! What a sweet video, showing a rare smile from the lovely Queen.
Thank you again for being a beacon of letters for Her kingdom. And for the idea of lighting the way through time – in peace and war – with England’s beacons.
The Platinum Jubilee was great, I just wish I could have been there. Thank you for the Beacon. What a great moment. God bless the Queen.
I love that you lit the beacon for the Queen. What a wonderful tribute to an amazing woman!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
God bless the Queen and God bless you.
Good morning Lady Carnarvon!
What a lovely tribute to the Queen. And your sunset picture is gorgeous! My family came from England to America a very long time ago but the spirit connection has always remained. My dad had purchased the entire record album set of Her Majesty’s Coronation in 1953 and those albums now belong to me. What a wonderful celebration that was and this weekend too! I was able to watch bits of the Jubilee online and loved it. Her Majesty is much admired in my family. She has definitely been a beacon of light and live and strength all these years.
A most excellent tribute to The Queen!
This was magnificent. As an American whose grandparents and parents emigrated to the US, I have always felt a keen pull to the UK, and a strange sense of “home” every time I’ve been there.
You have every right to celebrate the utterly remarkable woman known as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has uniquely defined steadfast service and dignity amidst difficulty. I fear that whenever she leaves us, we’ll never see the likes of her leadership again. I feel honored to have lived through much of her reign.
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon, for such a beautiful tribute.
The celebrations for the jubilee were beautiful
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Your lovely essay brought tears to my eyes. Being immigrants to the US from England our family’s hearts still feel attached to the homeland and her wonderful monarch. Your photos of the beacons being lit across England were hauntingly beautiful. The idea of the beacons lighting the land in honor of such a beloved woman warmed my soul. I’m so sorry that I could not be there to celebrate the Queen and her many achievements. God bless the Queen.
In our Welsh hill-top village, I invited village children to come up to our church and ring the four bells, as all the UK churches were asked to ring their bells on Friday 3rd. We had nearly 30 children and a similar number of their parents, aunts and grannies, so much so that I had to organise a second session on the Saturday ! ‘Children’ aged between 2 and 82 managed to ring the bells to celebrate the Queens jubilee … it was chaotic, but great fun !! I hope it will have created memories for them.
Memories and just enjoyment in the day ! Sounds wonderful
What a lovely tribute to your Queen…actually, the World’s Queen! I was out of town over the weekend and saw no news but have heard of the celebrations and have seen pictures from friends in Devonshire celebrating so I look forward to going through archives and YouTube to see some of the celebration. No country does it better than the Brits. Oh I wish I could have been there!
We are all lucky…
Lady Carnarvon, your words today are so beautifully written about our Queen. May the U.K. and the Commonwealth have Her Majesty as long as possible, God willing. Cheryl.
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
Thank you for your celebratory Monday blog, and the beautiful sunset picture.
I watched the Queen’s Jubilee events from far away. On a side note, my mother had a beautiful bracelet, earring, and necklace set from Her Majesty’s Coronation.
Also, I saw on both Facebook and Instagram the Beacon Hill event and torch lighting.
Enjoyed listening to the bagpiper. Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the melody. Please let me know the name of the song.
Until next week, God Save the Queen and watch over you and Lord Carnarvon.
The bagpiper was playing Highland Cathedral
Our family thoroughly enjoyed following the Jubilee activities–we have such respect for Her Majesty the Queen. My husband and I will be visiting London next month, and are so happy to be visiting your beautiful Highclere Castle on 7/14. We can’t wait to enjoy the beauty of the castle and gardens, as you have described them so wonderfully in your blogs.
I hope the sun shines for you!!!
Dear Lady Car nav on
Thank you for this wonderful blog.
I was born in England and reside in Canada. I love our Queen and enjoyed the JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS.
Our Queen is so loved it was wonderful to see her looking so well and happy.
Have. a wonderful summer and please continue with the lovely stories.
Kathleen from Canada.
Beautifully written, once again! I just returned to the US, having been in the UK for three weeks, and saw a fun tribute to the Queen in the northernmost point of Scotland. The isle of Unst, part of Shetland, had a display for the Jubilee in a small bus stop which a school boy had campaigned for years ago because he had to wait for the school bus in the fierce wind and cold every day! The display had flowers, pictures and objects representing the Queen that meant something to the few residents who live there. Had a wonderful time in your country; saw lots of gardens at their prime. Checked out visiting Highclere but it was not open when I was nearby, maybe next time….
Next time for sure – we have been busy with transferred tours
Watching the magnificent celebration from Florida, I couldn’t help but get the warmest of feeling in this joyous day. How lovely and extraordinary! May it long continue. God bless Her Majesty.
Thank you for sharing photos of the Highclere beacon and your thoughts on Her Majesty, the Queen. She is an extraordinary woman and an example for the world. She exemplifies service and humility.
God save the Queen!
God Save the Queen
Getting up early to watch the jubilee from Southern California was well worth it!
Just yesterday I watched “Secrets of Highclere” on PBS.
Again, I realized what a challenging endeavor it is to preserve your home for future generations.
May it continue!
I cannot say more than what you have expressed in your article. Queen Elizabeth is just brilliant. Since I was a child my uncle’s would say: There will never be another Queen Elizabeth. What she has done for the world and women can never be repaid. I have been crying for the last three days.
She serves and leads quietly..
Dear Earl and Lady Carnarvon
Thank you for sharing information about your family’s tribute to our Queen and her glorious, reaffirming Platinum Jubilee.
I hope you all enjoyed the celebrations.
I think so many people did!
Thank you for your lovely analogy and tribute to our glorious Queen. As an Australian, the Queen has been a beacon of strength and hope all of my life. As a small child, I waved flags when she visited our country, I stood in Fleet Street during the Silver Jubilee as her Gold Coach passed by and was glued to my television during these past four days of Platinum Jubilee celebrations. I love our Queen and thank her for her service and devotion to the Commonwealth. Long may she continue to reign over all of us.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I am hoping you enjoyed the Jubilee and all the celebration surrounding the anniversary
of the Queen’s coronation. It seems incredible that the Queen came to the throne 70
years ago. She has witness triumph and tragedy and has been a constant in the ever
changing lives of the British people. I was watching news coverage of the Jubilee
events and it all the citizens of your country were so proud to be from Great Britain.
Their love for the Queen was very apparent and it was inspirational how all the citizens
of the Commonwealth and world celebrated your Queen. No one puts on pomp and
pagentry like the English! Bravo to your lovely country and people for showing the Queen
all the love and devotion she surely deserves.
Happy Summer Monday (almost),
Ann Catherine Flood
Thank you for letting me into the history of your country. I will love to visit England one day, my respects to the Queen of England. To me she also represents family and its core values.
From Miami, Florida
She is unique –
As an American, I have always admired Her Majesty the Queen for her sense of duty to the British. She truly exemplifies dedication to all her subjects whose devotion to her was so touching during the past weekend’s jubilee activities.
It is a challenging broken world yet she quietly leads
A truly great lady in every sense of the word.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Beautifully written. Yes, Her Majesty is a beacon, an example to us all. Wishing Her Majesty many congratulations on this wonderful occasion, and many more thanks for Her Majesty’s life of service. Yours is a lovely tribute.
We arrived in London from Scotland Thursday evening and circled the United Kingdom from north to west to London in a great wide swath. The cabin lights were extinguished as we had the most amazing view of hundreds of beacon fires lighting the land below! We were in awe of the history we witnessed and the duty the queen swore to and has fulfilled over the last 70 years.
I am an American but I teared up at the image of the fires twinkling below as far as the eye could see and their significance. I am of mixed pedigree in my ancestry, but my maternal grandmother can trace her family to Mary Fleming, cousin of Mary Queen of Scotland and granddaughter of James I. Our family arrived in Jamestown, Virginia over 400 years ago and became Americans over the years. It has been so fun to learn of our ancestry and visit those long ago places from which we came. This years jubilee magnified the place in history and in our hearts that the UK holds.
Thank you for describing the queen and her meaning to you so beautifully and how your family is connected historically to such a special country and people.
I also found the lighting of the beacon very moving …
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
This weekend’s documentaries have reminded us in America of Her Majesty’s tireless decades of dedication and service. Indeed, Her Majesty has been a beacon for the people of the Commonwealth …and for all of us on the planet striving for unity, common goals, and the common good.
Here in Williamsburg, Virginia, at College Corner, the intersection of Duke of Gloucester Street and Jamestown Road, the College of William and Mary has been displaying large Platinum Jubilee pennants and what we call the Union Jack. As then-Governor Stanley said in 1957 when Queen Elizabeth, accompanied by Prince Phillip, said, “No visitor to our shores has ever so quickly and completely captured all our hearts and claimed such willing admiration and respect.” That admiration and respect have endured and grown for seven decades.
Thank you, Lady Carnarvon, for this week’s beautiful, informative, and inspirational blog.
Thank you – I did enjoy my visit to Williamsburg ..
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Each week I eagerly await your blog and after enjoying your wit, wisdom and information, dutifully print it and send in by post to my completely analog mother who reads it gleefully. We’re American with deep English roots and an avid Anglophilia. For both of us, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth represents all that is good, wholesome, steadfast and honorable. She’s been the monarch my entire life and my teenage mother watched Her Majesty’s coronation. Your blog is the perfect tribute to the Queen. She has indeed been a beacon to the world, shining her special magic on all of us. May God bless her and us with her for more years to come. Thank you for sharing details of your lovely passions at the estate. It is in very good and able hands. Mom and I look forward to visiting Highclere soon.
You are kind – I am not sure I deserve all your kind words but thank you!
I remember as a very young girl being allowed to watch the Coronation on television, because my mother felt we might never get such an amazing opportunity again. The Queen is an amazing woman, and has served her country very well.
Aloha from Hawaii!
Je n’ai aucun liens familiaux avec l’Angleterre, uniquement un très fort lien de coeur. Et de loin , en France j ‘ai suivi à la télévision et sur internet toutes ces cérémonies pour célébrer le Jubilé de sa Majesté la Reine. J’ai une très grande admiration et affection pour cette Dame extraordinaire. Je vous envie d’avoir cette femme qui réuni tout son peuple. J’envie également toutes ces réunions de rues, toutes ces personnes rassemblées pour la fêter (chose impossible en France, les français sont bien trop querelleurs !)
Je lui souhaite une excellente santé, qu’Elle continue d’éclairer le monde de longues années…et qu’en 2017, nous fêtions ses 3/4 de siècle de règne.
Merci de votre blog, que je lis attentivement chaque semaine, je vous souhaite une très bonne semaine.
Thank you Françoise
Dear Lady Carnarvon!
So beautifully written and honoring The Queen in such a wonderful way! God save The Queen!
Your tribute to Her Majesty as the beacon of your country was so poignant and reverent. I watched almost everything offered on YouTube that covered the Jubilee events! The pageantry started late at 11:00 p.m. my time and sometimes I was up to 3:00 a.m., but it was worth it to see it happening live. Since I was 12 years old, I have corresponded with my English pen pal. I have followed the Royal Family since (58 years). Because I worked at the hotel Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh vacationed at in Hawaii, I had the privilege of seeing them up close. It was the thrill of my life! God Bless The Queen!
P.S. Congratulations on being the Godmother of Viking Mars!
Queen Elizabeth is truly The People’s Queen ! We should turn our admiration of her into the kind of nobles actions she has exemplified throughout her entire life! Long May she reign in peace and harmony.
Lady Carnarvon. Thank you once again for this post and I sincerely hope you enjoy your time in Newport Rhode Island! Perhaps I will see you!
One of the reasons I am a self subscribed Anglophile – We have nothing like this celebration in our USA. I love you all and your dedication to Queen and Country. Love your Beacon blog, so appropriate. Keep em coming Lady Canarvon!
Yours is a gift befitting her Majesty. It says it all. Thank You
Your blog is always something that I look forward to reading. And how lovely to pay tribute to The Queen as you did . Bravo!