I had to duck outside yesterday afternoon, interrupting my royal watching on TV, and although the weather was fine for most of the day, I noticed that not many people were out and about in Versailles. Most were probably home either following the Roland Garros play-offs or admiring the spectacular nautical parade on the Thames celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. Difficult choice--the flotilla or Federer! People the world over--and the French especially so--are fascinated by and fond of Her Majesty the Queen. One cannot help but be impressed by the expression of social cohesion on such historic occasions where tradition and anachronism are contemporized.
Honnis soit qui mal y pense
Lest it be forgot, William the Conqueror was actually the Norman duke Guillaume le Conquérant, who after winning the Battle of Hastings in 1066 became the king of England. More than a third of all English words are derived from French, which for centuries was the elite language of the royal court.
Dieu et mon droit is the French devise on the United Kingdom's royal coat of arms.
And the motto of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the highest order of chivalrly in England founded in 1348, is a Middle French expression: Honnis soit qui mal y pense. Shame upon him who thinks evil.
la Tamise: the River Thames
un fleuve: a river
jubiler: to exult
un jubilé: a jubilee
©2012 P.B. Lecron