Tag Archives: Queen Elizabeth II

What is Tynwald Day?

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People often forget the British ties to the Isle of Mann. Though a Crown Dependency and not part of the United Kingdom, Her Majesty is the Lord of Mann. Though the involvement of a British monarch is seldom, this national observance is one of the most significant for the Manx people (residents of the Isle of Mann). Dating back to the Viking settlements of 8th Century AD, this tradition has continued unchanged for over 1000 years. No other parliament in the world has such a long unbroken record.

What is Tynwald Day?

Tynwald Day is the Manx National Day of the Isle of Man, usually observed on July 5. If this falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then it is observed on the following Monday.

Tynwald Day Events

It begins with a ceremony where the inhabitants of the Isle of Mann gather to hear the laws of their land proclaimed, to seek justice, and to air their grievances.

Tynwald Participants

King George VI was the first British Sovereign ever to preside over this occasion in July 1945, George VI presided in 1946, and Her Majesty The Queen presided in 1979 when the Millennium of Tynwald was celebrated. His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales presided on Tynwald Day 2000 as her representative.

The key representatives of this national event are as follows:

  • Lieutenant Governor – the legal representative of the Lord of Mann with the power to grant royal ascent
  • Sword-Bearer – who wears a scarlet uniform and carries the Sword of State which bears the triskelion which also appears on the national flag.
  • Legislative Council – the upper chamber of Tynwald parliament, consisting of 8 members elected by the House of Keys
  • Members of the House of Keys – the directly elected lower branch of Tynwald parliament but have much more power than the Council
  • Speaker of the House of Keys – wears a wig and black robes with gold decorations
  • President of Tynwald – the ex officio chairman and wears a wig and blue robes with silver decorations. The President’s robes also display the triskelion.
  • The Deemsters – Isle of Man’s highest judicial officers, wearing scarlet robes and long wigs.
  • State Officials of the Isle of Man – a long and prestigious list of governmental, religious, and royal persons including Her Majesty (Lord of Mann)
  • Guests of Honor – representatives of the United Kingdom and of other nations, usually including the Republic of Ireland and some Scandinavian countries. In recent years, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have sent separate representatives

Tynwald Procession

  • Guard of Honor – typically the Lord of Mann or Lieutenant Governor  provides inspection of the guard and lays a wreath at the National War Memorial, which was inaugurated in 1923.
  • Religious Service – At eleven o’clock, Tynwald convenes in the Chapel of St John the Baptist to begin the ceremony
  • First Procession – following this service, the participants, led by clergymen and certain government officials, proceed to Tynwald Hill via a path lined with both the red national flag and the blue parliamentary flag. It is also strewn with rushes; a Celtic tradition of propitiating the sea god Manannan by offering bundles of rushes on Midsummer’s Eve.
  • Tynwald Court Procession – the second procession follows this order: the officers of the House of Keys, the members of the House of Keys, the Chief Minister of the Isle of Man, the Speaker of the House of Keys, a messenger of the House of Keys, officers of the Legislative Council, members of the Legislative Council, the Attorney General, the Deemsters, the Bishop of Sodor and Man, the President of Tynwald and a messenger of the Legislative Council. Thereafter, two guards, the Sword-bearer, the Presiding Officer and the Lieutenant Governor (if not presiding)
  • Laws Pronounced – people come from every part of the Isle of Man to hear the laws pronounced. The six current coroners deliver their rods to the Governor and the first Deemster swears the new coroners in. Then every coroner kneels down before the Governor, and takes his rod from the hands of the Governor. The Coroner of Glenfaba reads the laws in Manx.

Tynwald Hill

The majority of events take place on Tynwald Hill known in the Manx language as Cronk-y-Keeillown, or the Hill of the Church of John. The Hill is basically a mound which is understood to include soil from all 17 of the Island’s parishes. The mound, approximately 12 feet (3.7 meters) in height, includes four circular platforms that consecutively decrease in size, one on top of the other.

The Lieutenant Governor, together with the Sword-Bearer and the officers and members of the Legislative Council, occupy the highest level of the Hill; officers and members of the House of Keys occupy the next level. Other officials are accommodated on the lower levels and at the foot of the mound. A tent covers the top platform. The flag of the Isle of Man flies from the flagpole except when the British Sovereign presides, when the Royal Standard flies.

  • Royal Anthem – more widely known as God Save the Queen is performed and sung by those in attendance.
  • Fence the Court – after the anthem is finished, the First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls, upon the instruction of the Lieutenant Governor, directs the Coroner of Glenfaba to declare these following words which the reader repeats in Manx (Isle of Mann’s tongue):

“I fence this Court of Tynwald in the name of our most gracious Sovereign Lady The Queen. I charge that no person do quarrel, brawl or make any disturbance and that all persons do answer to their names when called. I charge this audience to witness this Court is fenced. I charge this audience to witness this Court is fenced. I charge this whole audience to bear witness this Court is now fenced.”

  • Coroner’s Oath – ascend the Hill (in a clockwise direction around the Island) in order of precedence, beginning with the Coroner of Glenfaba, followed by the Coroner of Michael, the Coroner of Ayre, the Coroner of Garff, the Coroner of Middle and the Coroner of Rushen. The First Deemster administers the oath to the kneeling coroners. The Coroners then receive ceremonial staves from the Lieutenant Governor.
  • Proclamation of Laws – is traced back to the Norse practice of making public proclamations on mounds (hills). Each law is promulgated by the First Deemster in English and by the Second Deemster in Manx. This applies only to laws that have been enacted during the past year and which have received the Royal Assent.
  • Petitions and Grievances – once the laws are read, individuals present may submit petitions or air grievances. Petitions are presented at the foot of Tynwald Hill to the Clerk of Tynwald, who conveys them to the Lieutenant Governor. The petitions and grievances are then referred to a committee of Tynwald.

Tynwald Day Conclusion

Tynwald reconvenes at in the Chapel of St John the Baptist. The Lieutenant Governor, the President of Tynwald, and the Speaker of the House of Keys use quills to sign certificates documenting the promulgation of the laws. The Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Council then withdraw, leaving members of the House of Keys for a session of their house where they will deliberate on proposed bills.

After Tynwald Day, Tynwald Court returns to Douglas, the Isle’s capital, for three further sittings on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday following. After these sittings, Tynwald Court adjourns for the summer and does not reconvene until October.


 

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Did You Know The Queen Has 2 Birthdays?

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It’s true. Her Majesty has two birthdays every year and why not? Queen Elizabeth II is the Sovereign of the United Kingdom and The British Commonwealth. She has served as Queen through WWII, birthed four children, celebrated a Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilee and is now the longest reigning British monarch. This is a definite cause for celebration. These accomplishments of such a notable individual beg the question: is two birthdays enough to celebrate such a remarkable monarch?

A Bit About The Queen

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Mountbatten-Windsor was born April 21, 1926. She is the daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother. Her only sibling is Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowden. She was married at age 21 in 1947 to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and gave birth the following year to Charles, Princes of Wales. She also a mother to Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. Her Majesty has eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Queen Elizabeth II is also the longest reigning queen regnant (reigns in her own right) in the world. Her Majesty will be celebrating her 90th birthday this year.

Thoughts on Birthdays

Personally, I would love more than one birthday. I believe in celebrating life and our birthday is the one day that we can truly claim for ourselves. People often dislike celebrating their birthday because of the reminder they are getting older. It certainly beats the alternative.

Maybe you’re one of those that hate the attention that goes with a birthday party. Since her ascension to the throne, The Queen has had a public birthday celebration where the entire country is invited. There is a telly broadcast of the event, too. Talk about being under the spotlight.

Celebrating Her Majesty’s Birthday

The Queen’s private birthday celebration is marked by a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21 gun salute in Windsor Great Park, and a 62 gun salute at the Tower of London. The festivities begin noontime on April 21 while Her Majesty celebrates privately.

In 2006, Her Majesty celebrated her 80th Birthday greeting well-wishers in the streets outside Windsor Castle. This year, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will do another walkabout Windsor on her birthday. At the foot of Castle Hill, Her Majesty will unveil a plaque marking The Queen’s Walkway. It is a 6.3 km (3.9 mi) self-guided trail which connects 63 points of interest in the town of Windsor. In the evening of April 21, The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, and the Duchess of Cornwall will light a beacon and observe two additional beacons lit along The Long Walk and at Copper Horse. On Her Majesty’s birthday, The Queen’s Walkway commemorates the longest reigning British monarch, Elizabeth II.

On her public birthday, in June, The Queen and the Royal Family will once again enjoy the renowned Trouping the Colour parade. Many thousands line the streets to watch Her Majesty’s birthday celebration.

Trooping the Colour

Also known as “The Queen’s Birthday Parade” Trooping the Colour has also marked the official birthday of the British sovereign since 1748. This auspicious parade was moved to its June date by Edward VII due to the more pleasant summer weather.

Performed by fully trained and operational troops from the Household Division (Foot Guards and Household Cavalry), these regiments pay tribute to Her Majesty with grand pageantry.

The parade begins at Buckingham Palace where the Royal Standard is flown atop the palace. The Queen, in the royal procession, is led down The Mall by an escort of the Household Cavalry (troops on horseback) to the Horse Guards Parade of St. James’ Park in Whitehall, London. There, Her Majesty is greeted by a royal salute after which she inspects the troops. This inspection is followed by the “musical troop” performed by various regimental bands. The escorted Regimental Colour carries down the ranks, followed by a march past of the Foot Guards, Household Cavalry, and a rank past by The King’s Troop and Royal Horse Artillery. The Queen takes a carriage ride back to Buckingham Palace for a Royal Air Force flypast from the palace balcony.

Do You Enjoy The Queen’s Birthday?

Have you been to The Queen’s public birthday celebration? What did you think of the parade and Trooping the Colour? Wouldn’t you love to be a guest of Her Majesty’s private family celebration? What a unique and amazing experience that would be, right? Below is the footage from 2015 Trooping the Colour parade. Check out the video and post your comments.


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10 Reasons Why I Love Big Ben

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I know I am not alone in my love for Big Ben. This famous clock tower is the most synonymous icon with the United Kingdom. When you Google search London, Big Ben will always be among the top search results for this transcendent city. It’s the primo location shot in many films and Big Ben still one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world.

Everyone has their own love story with Big Ben and I thought I’d share mine with you.

How My Love of Big Ben Started

The first time this young wide-eyed girl saw Big Ben was in the 1953 Disney animated film, Peter Pan. The next occurrence was in the ground-breaking masterpiece, with both live action and animation, of Mary Poppins. I was hooked and believed this clock tower was practically perfect in every way.

As an adult, I am still very sentimental when it comes to Big Ben. In fact, I have a confession to make. I dearly love the Tinker Bell films produced by DisneyToon Studios. I’ve watched each one several times. The animation is flipping amazing, the stories are very clever, and nearly every film includes a shot of Big Ben. Each time I watch the films and see that iconic clock tower, I cry.

I realized the tears were of longing. I fell in love with Big Ben, as a little girl, and wanted to see this amazing clock tower in person. The closest I’ve come, thus far, was seeing it on Periscope. The most amazing experience was a broadcast of the clock tower at midnight all lit up. The quarter bells would chime first, preceding the “father bell” and then, I heard him. It was Ben, the big bell, ringing out 12 times with that unmistakable BONG! Once again, I found myself shedding tears of both joy and longing. The sound was music to my ears but fueled the ache in my heart to personally see my beloved Big Ben.

A Few Facts about Big Ben

Before I get into the reasons why I love Big Ben, I thought I’d share a few interesting facts.

Elizabeth Tower

In 2012, for her Diamond Jubilee, the famous London clock tower was renamed the Elizabeth Tower after Queen Elizabeth II.

Silence, Please

The bells of Big Ben were silenced during a few notable events:

  • Winston Churchill’s funeral on January 30, 1965
  • Margaret Thatcher’s funeral on April 17, 2013
  • A lengthy maintenance that was performed for 33 hours on October 25, 2005, on the clock and chimes.

Radio Broadcast

The chimes of this iconic clock tower were first broadcasted by the BBC on December 31, 1923. It is a tradition that continues to this day.

No Outsiders Allowed

The saddest fact I’ve learned, about Big Ben, was its restriction to outsiders. Only UK residents may tour the interior and it must be arranged by a Member of Parliament.

10 Reasons Why I Love Big Ben

Aside from being the number one tourist attraction of the UK, here’s my list of the top ten reasons why I love Big Ben.

  • The Nickname – the name “Big Ben” refers to the Great Bell of the famous London clock tower. It was speculated this nickname came from Sir Benjamin Hall, the overseer of the Great Bell installation. Another possibility of this nickname comes from English Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Benjamin Caunt.
  • Clock Face – there are 312 pieces of opal glass in each clock dial. A special light is illuminated above the clock faces when parliament is in session.
  • The Great Bell – the incomparable “bong” comes from a patched crack in the bell due to the faulty design of the original hammer. The bell was repaired, given an eighth of a turn, and fitted with a proper hammer to apply the correct striking force.
  • At Night –the entire tower is lit up at night and then goes into “lights out” mode after the stroke of midnight. After the stroke of twelve, only the clock faces are still illuminated.
  • Big Ben’s Survival– After a bomb destroyed the House of Commons chamber during WWII, the clock tower survived and Big Ben continued to chime every hour.
  • Queen Victoria – the Latin words, at the base of each clock dial, DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM, which means O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First.
  • Location, Location – Big Ben has been named the most popular film location and seen in countless TV shows and movies.
  • Worth Its Weight in Pennies – a stack of pennies is piled on the pendulum to regulate the clock’s time.
  • Washing Up – using only soap and water, a group of window washers will abseil (rappel) from the belfry down to the clock faces to give them a proper washing up. This cleaning is performed every 5 years.
  • New Year’s Eve – this famous clock tower is the focal point of London’s New Year’s Eve celebration, highlighted by a massive fireworks display.

Do You Love Big Ben Too?

Is anyone else in love with this iconic London clock tower? If so, why? Log into our website and post your comments.

Big Ben Chimes at Midnight


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