Here are some photos from Day 2 of King Charles and Queen Camilla’s “surprise” visit to Northern Ireland this week. Day 1 saw them opening up a public garden and staggering around a garden party. Day 2 saw them visiting a library, attending some multi-faith church thing and meeting with immigrant children. From what I’ve seen in the British papers, the king and queen’s visit didn’t get too much coverage. Perhaps that’s a good thing, judging from the photos and this Times article. Camilla looked like she was getting sh-thoused at one of the stops, and she told the immigrant children that they “speak very good English.” Deep sigh.
Like the King, Queen Camilla is an avid gardener. However, on a visit to Northern Ireland she has admitted that, aged 75, all that weeding and pruning usually leaves her “creaking”. The Queen was visiting the 252-year-old Armagh Robinson library on the second day of the couple’s two-day visit to the province.
While there she was shown parts of Joseph Paxton’s Magazine of Botany, which is a collection of illustrated advice for gardeners. Speaking to members of Dementia NI, she said: “I love gardening. I’m a passionate gardener. And it’s very therapeutic. But I always stay too long. Everything creaks and groans.”
Camilla was greeted by a table of library volunteers, a group of children from Drelincourt School, whose English is a second language. She told the volunteers: “This is very special what you are doing. The whole country would collapse without volunteers. Thank goodness there is a lot of you about. Volunteers also get as much out as they give.”
Speaking to children, some who only arrived in Northern Ireland two weeks ago, she said: “You speak very good English.”
Angela Baleva, six, who was born in Portugal and whose first language is Bulgarian, handed the Queen a picture she had coloured in from the Lindisfarne Gospels. She said: “I told the Queen I thought she was beautiful and she said thank you.”
“The whole country would collapse without volunteers” – pay people for their work, my god. A country built on volunteerism (unpaid labor) cannot be sustained. “You speak very good English” – I’m sure Camilla meant that as a compliment but it irritated me, thinking about how difficult it is for immigrant families in any country, how quickly they’re forced to acclimate and for the sole comment on their experience to be about how well they speak English. Irritating. As for everything creaking and groaning with Camilla… yeah, the orthopedic kitten wedges speak volumes.
Photos courtesy of Cover Images.
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