What a “Happy and Glorious” week it’s been as the Commonwealth, and indeed the whole world, has sent well wishes to Queen Elizabeth for her Diamond Jubilee.
Now for some of you out there the phrase “Happy and Glorious” will elicit some interesting and wonderful memories. But for others, myself included, this phrase meant absolutely nothing when Rose Young the museums’ History Curator rocked in with this T-shirt.
The words are of course lyrics contained in the second verse of the national anthem “God Save the Queen”. In New Zealand this was the sole national anthem until 1977 when “God Defend New Zealand” was added as a second. Hence, as a Generation X’er I never had the pleasure of singing this version, and so “Happy and Glorious” were not in my vocab. Truth be told I don’t even know the words of “God Save the Queen” at all but can belt out “God Defend New Zealand” a lot better than some of those All Blacks on that football field can!
The T-shirt was produced by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2002 for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, and here we are, another decade later, and another anniversary.
As Rose says “some people do not immediately comprehend the meaning of the words but they were once a fundamental aspect of our lives as New Zealanders to be heard in many venues”. She remembers if you were heading to the picture theatre to watch a movie everybody would have to stand for the national anthem prior to the movie starting. If you didn’t, (and Rose being the rebel that she is, sometimes didn’t) you were singled out by the usher with the torchlight and commanded to stand. After a time the anthem changed from the beginning of the movie to the end when of course you had to stand to exit the picture theatre. This shift signalling the cultural shift that was also occurring as generations of New Zealanders who had grown up in Godzone increasingly identified with New Zealand as home rather than the Mother Country and its monarch.
What does Happy and Glorious mean for you today as we celebrate 60 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign? What memories does it evoke for you?
Let us know and if you have any other Queenie T-shirts upload them to the website www.identi-tee.com.