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Q for Queens

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DVD Smith
1269879.  Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:34 am Reply with quote

Queens, New York
The largest borough in New York City was named after the woman who introduced tea to Great Britain.

Her name was Catherine of Braganza, a Portguese princess born in 1638. Where she grew up in Portugal, tea was a very popular drink, with Portuguese merchants regularly bringing it in from Asia. When she was married off to King Charles II of England by her father in 1662, she didn’t care for English ale and instead drank only tea. The tea-drinking habits of the new Queen eventually spread across the English aristocracy, and the demand for tea increased to the point where it became one of the main imports of the East India Company – and thus a national stereotype was born. [1]

When New Amsterdam became New York in 1665, the English set about remapping and renaming the area, and so in 1683 twelve new counties were created. Three of these were “Kings County”, named after King Charles II, “Queens County”, named after his wife, Catherine of Braganza, and “Richmond County”, named after the King’s son the Duke of Richmond. In 1898, the city was consolidated into five boroughs; Queens retained its name, while “Richmond County” became part of Staten Island, and “Kings County” became part of Brooklyn. [2][3] The etymology of Queens is contested, however, with historians saying that, although widely believed, the story has not been proven. [4]

Queen Elizabeth II
In March 2017 the Guardian ran a fascinating article on the procedures that will take place when the Queen dies. [5] The whole article is interesting, but one or two notable things that I picked out:

If the Queen dies while in Scotland (most likely at Balmoral), she will lie in rest at Holyrood House in Edinburgh, where there will be a precession up the Royal Mile. She will then be put on the Royal Train for the journey down to London. On its journey, the Royal Train will have a second “cleaning train” following immediately behind it, to scoop up any flowers or debris that people have thrown onto the tracks from level crossings or station platforms.

When radio stations hear the breaking news, they are instructed to play “inoffensive music”, before switching to the news report. Every radio station in the country has playlists set up for “sudden mourning”. TV newsreaders will all wear black clothes (and black ties for the men). BBC1, BBC2 and BBC4 will all merge to cover the news, and the BBC will suspend all satirical broadcasts, and possibly all comedy shows altogether (according to The Week [6]) until after the funeral and burial. Similarly, all games and sports will be banned in the Royal Parks. However, flags will only be flown at half mast on the actual day of the Queen’s death; the following day, they will be raised back up to celebrate Charles becoming King.

The BBC might have a tough time pleasing everyone with their coverage though. In 2002, when the Queen Mother’s funeral was broadcast, 130 people complained that the BBC’s coverage had been insensitive, while 1500 people complained that Casualty had been moved to BBC2.

Things named after Queen Elizabeth II
The number of things around the world named after the Queen is quite staggering. [7][8] Obviously there are loads in the countries where she is the current or former monarch, but also in places you wouldn’t expect. There is a Queen Elizabeth Street in Manaus, Brazil, as well as Queen Elizabeth Drive in Florida and Texas. Both Kyoto, Japan and Kentucky, USA host horse races named the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. [9][10] In fact, as the article by The Field ([7]) shows, it is possible to circumnavigate the globe and visit a place named after the Queen in every country you visit. You may have heard of the Queen being given “Queen Elizabeth Land” in Antarctica as part of her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, [11] but she also has a separate area of Antarctica called “Princess Elizabeth Land”, named after her when it was discovered in 1931.[12] (Not to be confused with "Princess Elisabeth Antarctica", a 2009 polar research station named after the young daughter of the King of Belgium.)[13]

Other unusual things named after or for the Queen are a power station,[14], a planetarium, [15], two mountain ranges, [16][17] and the daughter of a Filipino boxer. Filipino Senator and former boxer Manny Pacquiao named one of his daughters Queen Elizabeth, after his admiration for the monarch, [18], which led to the brilliant headline “Pacquiao’s wife gives birth to Queen Elizabeth”. [19]

In Brisbane, Queensland, you can find the only statue of Queen Elizabeth II in the world with her holding a handbag. [20][21]

Back in the United “Kingdom” (which is a bit of a misnomer in hindsight, since 59% of the UK’s 217-year history has had a queen on the throne): in Scotland, the brand new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, the largest hospital in Europe, [22] was nicknamed “the Death Star” by locals when it was opened in 2015, owing to its four-pointed star shape. [23] The hospital boasts a 500-seater restaurant, proving once and for all that Eddie Izzard was right – there is a Death Star canteen, and it’s in the west end of Glasgow.

1269881.  Sun Jan 07, 2018 10:49 am Reply with quote

DVD Smith wrote:

Queen Elizabeth II
In March 2017 the Guardian ran a fascinating article on the procedures that will take place when the Queen dies.

There was a thread about this a few months ago:

1269929.  Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:18 pm Reply with quote

The linked Guardian article mentions that the code "Hyde Park Corner" was used when George VI died, so that no one who overheard the conversation would know what it was about.

When the present Queen dies, the code is said to be "London Bridge is down". But since the meaning of that code is by now public knowledge, should we take it that it will actually be something else?

1269932.  Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:24 pm Reply with quote

Maybe it's fake news.

This "public codename" thing does baffle me. For instance, the police investigation into sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile and others was codenamed "Operation Yewtree" - a fact that was widely reported in the media at the time, making the codename pointless. Or was it a double-bluff, whereby the police had their own secret codename that they didn't release?


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