The Queen Had Multiple Birthdays
Whilst the Queen’s actual birthday is on 21st April, certain countries have been commemorating the occasion at different times of the year, as the following excerpts from Wikipedia show:
The King’s Official Birthday (alternatively the Queen’s Official Birthday when the monarch is female) is the selected day in the United Kingdom and most Commonwealth realms on which the birthday of the monarch is officially celebrated in those countries. It does not necessarily correspond to the date of the monarch’s actual birth.
The sovereign’s birthday was first officially marked in the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1748, for King George II. Since then, the date of the king or queen’s birthday has been determined throughout the British Empire, and later the Commonwealth of Nations, either by royal proclamations issued by the sovereign or viceroy, or by statute laws passed by the local parliament.
The date of the celebration today varies as adopted by each country and is generally set around the end of May or start of June, to coincide with a higher probability of fine weather in the Northern Hemisphere for outdoor ceremonies. In most cases, it is an official public holiday, sometimes aligning with the celebration of other events. Most Commonwealth realms release a Birthday Honours list at this time.
With the accession of Charles III on 8 September 2022 this holiday may be subject to change.
Australian states and territories observe the King’s Birthday on the second Monday in June, except in Western Australia and Queensland. As Western Australia celebrates Western Australia Day (formerly known as Foundation Day) on the first Monday in June, the governor of Western Australia each year proclaims the day on which the state will observe the King’s Birthday, based on school terms and the Perth Royal Show. There is no firm rule to determine this date, though it is usually the last Monday of September or the first Monday of October. Some regional areas of Western Australia celebrate the King’s Birthday public holiday on alternative days for locally significant dates or events. In 2012, Queensland celebrated the holiday in October, as the June holiday was reserved to mark Elizabeth II‘s Diamond Jubilee as Queen of Australia, after which the holiday then for three years reverted to its traditional date in line with the other eastern Australian states. However, starting in 2016, Queensland celebrates the holiday on the first Monday of October.
Queensland, the Australian state named after Queen Victoria in 1859, is the only state celebrating the birthday of Queen Elizabeth II👑 on the 3rd of October. In terms of longevity, Her Royal Highness was the longest-reigning British monarch by a fair margin of seven years over her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria.
Connecting with the Queen
Just as the passing of Her Majesty The Queen👑 gives people all over the world the opportunity to ponder her legacy and to (re)consider the continuity and legitimacy of the constitutional monarchy both within and without the United Kingdom of Great Britain comprising England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, so too does the annual celebration of her birthday bring folks from all walks of life to commemorate the occasion in various ways ranging from crafting, decorating, parading, picnicking and serving delicacies to collecting stamps, first-day covers and memorabilia.
The combination of the birth and death of the Queen has prompted SoundEagle🦅ೋღஜஇ to make a concerted effort to ponder the less obvious connections that one might have with a royalty, beyond those associated with their wedding and coronation, or those forged by set occasions marking the beginning and end of their life.
One may first proceed by way of contemplating the putative six degrees of separation whereby people in the world are ultimately all connected via a chain of “friend of a friend”. Yet, this approach has become unfeasible since the Queen and many of her associates are no longer alive.
One tangible solution is to trace out some form of connection via a line of work or a discipline. Possessing other qualifications aside, as a musician and composer, SoundEagle🦅ೋღஜஇ had been taught music theory and analysis by the late pianist, music teacher, composer, and lecturer in harmony and counterpoint, British-born Alan Lane (1932 — 2002), who once divulged that he had studied with a student of eminent English composer Sir Edward William Elgar (2 June 1857 — 23 February 1934). Having the same country of birth aside, Lane and Elgar both grew a very similar moustache. One may indeed deem Elgar to be an illustrious national treasure whose esteemed stature stems from his achievements in having been, according to Open Plaques, a composer, violinist, conductor, teacher, Master of the King’s Music, organist (1885 — 1889), Knight Bachelor (from 1904), Order of Merit recipient (from 1911), Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (1928 — 1933), 1st Baronet Elgar of Broadheath (from 1931), and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (from 1933).
Here are the notable musical connections linking Her Majesty The Queen👑 to SoundEagle🦅ೋღஜஇ. One of Edward Elgar’s students, presumably Herbert Howells (17 October 1892 – 23 February 1983) or the like, taught Alan Lane, who was not merely the father of the acclaimed concert pianist, chamber musician, raconteur, broadcaster, recording artist and festival director Piers Lane (an ex-student of Nancy Weir), but also one of SoundEagle🦅’s esteemed music theory teachers at the Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University (formerly the Queensland Conservatorium of Music). Fortunately, Elgar lived long enough to finish and dedicate one of his final compositions entitled “Nursery Suite” to Queen Elizabeth II👑 when she was just a child. According to Wikipedia:
The Nursery Suite is one of the last compositions by Edward Elgar. Like Elgar’s The Wand of Youth suites, it makes use of sketches from the composer’s childhood.
There are seven movements and a coda:
- 1. Aubade (Awake)
- 2. The Serious Doll
- 3. Busy-ness
- 4. The Sad Doll
- 5. The Waggon (Passes)
- 6. The Merry Doll
- 7. Dreaming – Envoy (Coda)
The composition of the Nursery Suite came about when Elgar mentioned in September 1930 to William Laundon Streeton of HMV (the Gramophone Company) that he had lately run across a box of musical sketches from the days of his youth. Streeton suggested that, as Master of the King’s Musick, he might suitably draw on them for a work to mark the recent birth of Princess Margaret Rose (then fourth in line to the throne). The suite was dedicated to Princess Margaret, her older sister Princess Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and their mother (the Duchess of York).
Most of the movements appear light, in the style of The Wand of Youth suites, and predominantly sunny in character. Some commentators have made an exception of “The Waggon (Passes)”: the Elgar authority Michael Kennedy suggests that as the wagon (Elgar used the older spelling, ‘waggon’) rumbles towards us the music becomes sinister in a manner reminiscent of the bars in the Scherzo of the Second Symphony, when, in Elgar’s words, “the wheels go over my head”. Anthony Payne drew on the form of this movement for the ending of his elaboration of the Third Symphony sketches.
The Nursery Suite was one of the first pieces of orchestral music to receive its premiere in a recording studio (Kingsway Hall, London) rather than a concert hall (although Elgar’s very first recording session, in February 1914, had included the premiere of the miniature “Carissima”). At its premiere on 23 May 1931, all but the two last movements were recorded under the baton of the composer. The last two movements were added when the whole suite was performed on 4 June 1931 before an invited audience including Princess Elizabeth, aged five, and her parents. The piece takes about 25 minutes to perform.
Reviewing the work when it first appeared, W.R. Anderson wrote in The Gramophone: “The last movement, with its striking violin cadenza, seems especially significant. It hints at memories, which even in music are best hinted at, not explicitly stated: not because they hurt, but because youth can only understand them so. … There is the old fire here, with at least two movements out of the other six showing a freshness distinct from that of the Wand of Youth … with the natural greatness of heart and spirit – something more than any genius can confer – that marks, and has marked through all his life, our beloved Edward Elgar.”
The following video will start playing the last movement entitled “Dreaming – Envoy (Coda)”:
Following Elgar’s devotional footsteps and paralleling the imaginative theme of Dreaming, SoundEagle🦅ೋღஜஇ is hereby dedicating a composition entitled “Vintage Dreaming” to Her Majesty The Queen👑 on 3 October 2022, her official birthday in Queensland, Australia: