In the second part of the Andrew Marr-fronted documentary on the BBC ’The Diamond Queen’ we discovered what traits make a magnificent Monarch. As we approach what would have been the London Season, traditionally beginning after Easter and ending with the “Glorious Twelfth” (12th August), the start of the shooting season for red grouse, we see things have evolved.
In 1958 the last of the debutant balls was held in Buckingham Place for ‘high society’ and an altogether more inclusive tradition began, The Garden Party. The willingness to embrace change and be more flexible in an ever-changing world was paramount to the young Queen.
The invitations are sent out to people from all walks of life: train drivers, nurses, teachers and factory workers, heralding a much more modern Monarchy. An astounding 27,000 cups of tea are served, 20,000 cakes and sandwiches are made, with guests consuming an average of 14 items each! These events have three essential ingredients’ the attendance of the Queen and Prince Philip, the guests and the Great British weather.
Her Majesty wanted to be more accessible, and connect with her subjects, just as her father and mother, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, had been before her. Also introduced is the notion of themed lunches and events; these can include actors, writers, scientists, and explorers, for example.
The importance of these events is massive, as The Queen selects the guest list herself. She remains involved from the concept meeting and attends regular briefing sessions. When the Queen mingles at these events it is astonishing how knowledgeable She is about her guests.
The individuals and groups come from all backgrounds and cultures the main objective is to ensure a personal connection.
The Queen has always had a clear sense of purpose and a natural empathy with everyone She meets. These are essential traits in influencing others and she has them in abundance.
I love the story Prince William, Duke of Cambridge recounted about his and Kate’s wedding guest list, “I was presented with a list with 777 names, I looked at it and there was not one person on there I knew. I had a sense of fear and dread about what was going to happen… So I rang my grandmother for some clarification and was told, it was ridiculous and to start a list of my own friends first!” The Queen is a clear communicator, articulating in a genuine and honest way what she thinks William must do! Listening to what others have to say and understanding what they need creates a positive outcome for everyone.
HRH Henry of Wales, says with a cheeky smile, “She allows members of the family to go away and find their own way, however if you get it wrong, standby, you will be put back in your place and rightly so!” The best way for others to learn is by setting a good example and allowing them to make their own mistakes gaining valuable life experiences that will in turn make them as credible as Her.
At a speech delivered to the Mothers’ Union denouncing divorce and separation, a young Elizabeth said, “Divorce is producing some of the darkest evils in society” In her reign three of her children have divorced.
Biting the bullet and being the bigger person She said in her Christmas address, “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis”.
The experiences, mistakes and life lessons shape us all add to who we are. Through all of this The Queen has maintained her poise, professionalism and put her own feelings to one side.
If you have any or all of the highlighted traits you are indeed an Influencer:
‘A power affecting a person, thing, or course of events, especially one that operates without any direct or apparent effort.’
If you do not possess any of these traits then you could be considered a Manipulator:
‘To influence or manage shrewdly or deviously, to tamper with or falsify for personal gain.’
The behaviours that The Queen exhibits and the way She conducts Herself both personally and professionally can teach us all something. If you feel you would benefit from being more of the former and less of the later, you know where I am
Finally I think HRH Duke of Cambridge says it all, “Every organization needs to look at itself, the Monarchy which is a constantly evolving machine, wants to reflect society and move with the times. It is important it does so for it’s own survival.”