For those who are able to watch every historic moment of the crowning of King Charles next Saturday, M.E. sufferer Helen Stout says please spare a thought for those who can't.
Certainly no republican, after all she treasures the memory of the day when she took two grandchildren with her to enjoy The Party at the Palace in 2006 to mark the late Queen’s 80th birthday, Helen just wants to make the simple point that many like her won’t be able to watch the whole ceremony, or anything of it at all.
“Before Covid and the diagnosis of M.E, I'd have been helping to organise a street party and other celebrations for the Coronation, now I'm housebound and wondering which 20-minute slot to choose to watch on TV on the day – the procession? start of the service? the crowning itself?”
The former funeral celebrant, who lives in Gloucestershire, adds: “I can just about manage to watch TV twice a week for 20 minutes at a time (I still haven't watched all of the late Queen's funeral!) but I'm aware that many can't even manage that.
“I went overnight from being a self-employed celebrant and hands-on grandmother who regularly walked, cycled and swam, to housebound – not even able to read a bedtime story or play a simple game with any of my nine grandchildren, or spend more than 20 minutes with them without being exhausted. “
Not wanting to stir too many dark thoughts about what else she won’t be able to do on Coronation Day, Helen says:
“There are a few more days now when I manage to focus on those little things which help me get through the day, and I'm hoping that, with care, watching a bit of the Coronation on the day itself will be one of those special moments to remember.
“And the icing in the cake, as it were, is that I've just discovered that a local deli is making Coronation Quiche. I've got my order in, so that's my celebration lunch sorted!!”
From the left: Helen is pictured enjoying a recent visit to a garden on a good day; and in the Buckingham Palace gardens for Party at The Palace in 2006. Helen and two of her grandchildren are seen meeting Beatrix Potter characters Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggywinkle.