A mar­riage made in plat­inum

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IN Novem­ber, The Queen notches up an­other mile­stone: the 70th an­niver­sary of her mar­riage to The Duke of Ed­in­burgh. Epic mar­riages are a state­ment of the com­mit­ment of one person to an­other, de­spite all the tri­als—emo­tional and oth­er­wise—that be­set them. Fewer peo­ple stay the course these days, which means that a plat­inum an­niver­sary—seven decades—must be viewed with awe.

Royal mar­riages have not al­ways been so happy, but this one, which far ex­ceeds any other in longevity, has given the na­tion a back­drop of sta­bil­ity. There’s no ques­tion of the per­sonal ful­fil­ment Her Majesty has de­rived from it and, if Prince Philip has some­times been frus­trated by his role, his grace in car­ry­ing it out will go down as a model for cor­rect male be­hav­iour in an in­creas­ingly com­mon sit­u­a­tion as more women take top jobs.

The Queen is fa­mously re­sis­tant to fuss on her own be­half, but might make an ex­cep­tion when she and her hus­band share the spot­light equally.

How should we cel­e­brate it? The ar­chi­tect Bryan Avery, whose build­ings in­clude the Mu­seum of the Mov­ing Im­age and the BFI Lon­don Imax, has an idea. An­other great monarch is re­mem­bered in the Queen Vic­to­ria Me­mo­rial scheme, which cre­ated the Mall and Ad­mi­ralty Arch. At right an­gles to this is an­other axis: Broad Walk through Green Park. A dou­ble av­enue of Lon­don planes, the Broad Walk is—or should be— reached through the mag­nif­i­cent Canada Gate and runs up to the equally splen­did old gates from Devon­shire House.

Nei­ther gate is ever opened, how­ever— the car­riage drive, which was pre­sum­ably pro­jected for the av­enue, was never built. Mr Avery pro­poses Broad Walk should be­come a foun­tain, made of half-a-dozen rec­tan­gu­lar pools of wa­ter flow­ing, one to an­other, down the gra­di­ent. There is much to com­mend this pro­posal.

Green Park is al­most en­tirely trees and, al­though parts are in­ten­sively used, the cen­tral Broad Walk is strangely empty. Mr Avery’s Great Cas­cade, as he calls it, would be a pop­u­lar ad­di­tion to the cap­i­tal, with some of the qual­i­ties (but not the glitches) of the Diana Me­mo­rial Foun­tain in Hyde Park. Jets could project from one foun­tain to an­other; mist might be gen­er­ated on spe­cial oc­ca­sions. It leaves room for The King’s Troop to fire gun sa­lutes.

In their strait­ened con­di­tion, Royal Parks may not want to take on any more re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, but its ob­jec­tion would surely be over­come if a main­te­nance fund could be pro­vided. The Queen’s pres­tige is such that, in these days of su­per wealth, a sin­gle donor might be found to cover the cost.

There may be other ideas of how the an­niver­sary should be cel­e­brated and we look for­ward to hear­ing them, but we be­lieve that the Great Cas­cade de­serves con­sid­er­a­tion. Let’s get crack­ing on it.

Pine­hurst II, Pine­hurst Road, Farn­bor­ough Busi­ness Park, Farn­bor­ough, Hamp­shire GU14 7BF Tele­phone 01252 555072 www.coun­trylife.co.uk

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