Scotland celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in spectacular style at Glamis Castle, Angus, on Sunday 20 May, 2012. Nestling in view of the snow-capped Grampian Mountains, Glamis is widely known as the childhood home of the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and as the power-base of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The first warm sunny day for several weeks brought around 23,000 people out to mark the jubilee at a free event provided by the Earl of Strathmore to celebrate the cultural diversity of Angus. The event was graced with royalty, in the person of Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester.
The Strathtay Branch of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Great Britain had been invited by the Lord Lieutenant’s Office to participate. Nearly 50 members joined in, from classes in nearby Forfar, from Dundee and Perth, and from as far afield as Aberdeen. First, a Set amidst the trees to loosen off, and then the main display on the West Lawn, in front of the castle. This stimulated interest in young and old alike, while the massed pipe bands played and paraded.
An informal parade of our own followed, with the tai chi-ers following the flag as it wound its way through the crowds, to the area bounded by marquees exhibiting the life and culture of eight of the principle Angus towns. Pausing briefly on the main drive for a photo, the group assembled in front of the Forfar Marquee, to perform foundation exercises and more Sets. Here, amidst the community gathering, the main group worked the physical form, in the shadow of our prominent flag. Meanwhile, another dozen volunteers offered leaflets to interested spectators, giving out some 1,500 fliers promoting classes starting next month in Forfar, Dundee and Perth. During her walkabout of the site, even the Duchess of Gloucester stopped her security entourage to ask Betty, from Forfar, for a leaflet – sadly this exchange took place out of range of our cameras.
At the end of the afternoon, all were agreed it had been a splendid day out, and a foretaste of a glorious summer of public displays.