There was pomp and there was circumstance galore because، as the old song goes، ‘Nobody does it better، Makes me feel sad for the rest.’ In London there were multiple gun salutes، a state banquet; an unfurling of golden pageantry that impressed the watching global audience and the Leader of the Free World — plus his knockout wife، daily mail reported.
In Portsmouth، some of the most powerful leaders on the planet gathered to pay tribute to the sacrifices made by ordinary people، amid skirling bagpipes and a scorching Red Arrows flypast. And now that it is all over، can we agree that the state visit of President Trump and the commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings were indisputably magnificent?
It was certainly a glorious stitch in the tapestry of our nation’s history، something that even the grisly doughnut of milkshaking protesters in London could not curdle.
And in the middle of it all، the undisputed، thousand-carat star of the show was our own dear Queen.
From the moment she greeted Mr and Mrs Trump at Buckingham Palace to her terrific speech in Portsmouth، HM proved anew that she is worth her weight in beaten gold.
Who is like her? Absolutely nobody. Whether in her ruby-rich tiara or her pink-feathered hat، she was regina in excelsis at all times; a tiny but determined figure steering her own course through difficult diplomatic waters، always sailing onwards towards the greater national good.
At her side، the normally belligerent and difficult Trump was a model of good behaviour، clearly in awe of the woman and her ancient office. Instead of his usual bored toddler fractiousness، he was much more the dutiful and attentive son، his behaviour both modified and modest.
Perhaps this was testament to the Queen’s inviolate sense of duty، for it is clear even to Trump that she is the real deal.
After all she has transcended fashion and fad for more than half a century; her face set against the storm، her compass fixed at resolute، modesty her watchword.
She keeps her own counsel، her cornflakes in a plastic container and she holidays in Scotland — there is nothing not to love.
And at big moments like this، when it falls to her to speak for all of us، especially on this one last chance to pay everlasting respect to the young soldiers، sailors and airmen who left the UK to fight in Europe، she did not let us down.
‘It is with humility and pleasure، on behalf of the entire country — indeed the whole free world — that I say to you all، thank you،’ she said in Portsmouth.
She added that when she attended the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004 some thought it might be the last such event. Yet as she pointed out، the wartime generation — ‘my generation،’ she emphasised — is resilient.
Indeed they are. And it seems terribly important that not only did HM live through the war herself، she understands the unspoken ache and the brooding memories it still evokes in this country.
To be honest، I have mixed feelings about various other members of the Royal Family، but I simply adore the Queen. I love her square-toed shoes، her damp tweeds، the concrete invincibility of her snow-white shampoo and set. Throughout my entire life she has always been there; on stamps، on coins and on the throne.
During the 67 years of her reign she has never، not once، yielded to the seductions of fame. When one regards the occasional indulgent outbursts of some of her entitled offspring، who seem to want all of the perks and prestige of royalty without any of the responsibility، she is a totem of unimpeachable good manners.
She has never behaved badly، nor felt the need to show off، nor seized a commercial or social advantage for her own advancement. Whatever the occasion، she never fluffs her lines، nor milks sympathy nor sucks up to the cameras or lets us down. Gaze across the crowned heads of Europe and you cannot say the same about them. Look closer to home، ditto.
She understands that it is not about her، but all about the dignity of her office. And she presided over a whirl of emotion all week.
The two 90-something veterans parachuting onto the Normandy fields، just as they did over seven decades ago، brought a tear to the eye. As did the thought of all those young men (and women) who unquestioningly left their warm and comfortable homes in towns and cities across the UK، to march into the unknown darkness of a conflict that had to be won.
This anniversary has stirred the pot of our shared memories in a deep way. Some critics say that it is wrong to dwell on the blood-soaked memories of an old war — but this is not ancient history، this is yesterday. Led by the well-chosen words of the Queen، the D-Day anniversary was not just about the remembrance of lives lost، but also the quiet celebration of something profound; ourselves.
This week would not have been the same without her at the helm; throwing a banquet that made the American one look like a Sunday School picnic، welcoming President Trump with a warmth and a spirited pragmatism that put many to shame، including sulky Prince Harry. She looked and sounded like she meant every word، and that is because she did.
Am I fan-girling about her too much? I can’t help it. The Queen is unique، incredible، a monarch of whom we can proud.
The thought of her not being there to reign over us، happy and glorious، is saddening and awful.
Yet as she says herself، her generation is indeed resilient. And in this week of all weeks، three cheers for them، each and every one.