30 May 2024

This has been an emotional time for many of us

We lead with the late Queen again this week, her state funeral having been on Monday.

Some will think the continued coverage is appropriate, some may not. But it was undeniably a truly historic event, watched by the vast majority of people who have televisions (the figure peaked at 37.5 million in the UK, according to the Radio Times).

I’m certainly no ardent monarchist, nor am I particularly a republican, but I have to admit that I was a bit transfixed by it all, from the pomp and ceremony of the funeral procession to the absolutely stunning setting of Westminster Abbey, and the haunting, ethereal music, from classical to modern compositions. I don’t think you necessarily have to be religious to appreciate them, either. I’m fairly sure that I’d have completely lost it had I actually been there. As send-offs go, it was pretty epic.

I’m also sure it sparked memories for people who have attended funerals for loved ones, and there has been a lot written about the fact that people are grieving for someone they have never met, or have been helped through their current grief amid the national mourning for the Queen. So I think it has been a time of elevated emotion for many people, and they shouldn’t be belittled for it. At the very least, a new King is a sea- change that few of us have experienced.

A friend of mine on Facebook, who shall remain nameless, posted so many times about his disdain for the monarchy and what he saw as the mass hysteria surrounding the Queen’s death, that another friend jokingly posted a satirical article to his page entitled, “Man who doesn’t care about the funeral keeps logging in to tell everyone so…”

The subject of the monarchy is certainly divisive, and on a personal note, I’m still torn about the decision to cancel the Hull Folk Festival, which would have taken place just two days after the death of the Queen. Many people said we’d done the right thing, and that it would have been disrespectful to carry on, but equally as many vehemently disagreed. We’d have been damned if we did, and if we didn’t, I think. We weren’t the only major festival to be pulled, though – numerous gigs and other events were hastily axed, even though the (admittedly vague) government guidance did not insist on it.

But the blanket royal coverage has now given way to more balanced news, and the energy crisis and Ukraine are back in the headlines again. Speaking of Ukraine, this week we report on how one local man has been doing his bit to help there for the past six months.