In the run-up to the Jubilee juggernaut, the western media has become obsessed with the newfound brand success of the British Royal Family aka Brand GB.
During the lead up to her Diamond Jubilee, our 86 year old monarch's dress sense has been the topic of many a fashion article. She apparently knows what suits her, has a distinctive style and always dresses appropriately.
The Diamond Jubilee weekend is here; people up and down the land will be celebrating and gathering with friends and family. You may be opting to take part in the 'Big Lunch' on the Sunday, or throw a tea party or picnic on the Bank Holiday Monday. But another option would be to throw your own garden party.
"We all have fond memories of 60 years of our Queen," Dermot Murnaghan smarms through my TV screen inaccurately. After retrieving whichever inanimate object now lies below the screen having found itself being hurled along with a range of colourful language towards the inane news man's grinning bonce, I reflect on what has been an annoying few months for me and millions of other Britons.
For those who love them, pens are friends, adding a touch of class and reassurance every time.
Could you imagine two more brilliant old birds in one room than The Queen and Joan Collins? A pair of truly regal women who have remained true to their iconic style and stayed "in character" all their lives.
On 8 May, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Lord Watson of Richmond on the Thames were joined by Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates William Howell in planting a London Plane tree (Platanus acerifolia) behind the historic Virginia State Capitol.
What a whacky week of TV! And the biggest whack came with Britain's Got Talent blowing The Voice right out of the water as it ended the best ever series yet - with a dog winning the day!
Her Majesty is not known to like public speaking, but sees it as a duty that she must perform. The government of the day writes the words of Her Majesty's speech, and as 'head' of the government she simply reads them - regardless of whether she agrees with the finer details.
Talks resume this week between the fuel distributors and Unite the Union to avoid a petrol delivery strike. I bet Francis Maude can hardly suppress his anxiety as the prospect of a REAL strike actually gets closer.
Few events in the political calendar underline quite so graphically the power of the government and the impotence of the opposition as much as the Queen's speech. Backed by all the pomp and finery the British state can muster, the Gracious Address, to give it its proper title, affords the government the opportunity to draw a line under past difficulties, and turn a somewhat dry recitation of its legislative programme into a demonstration of its political priorities. The shadow cabinet should seize on this year's Queen's speech to provide its own 'shadow Queen's speech' as a way of demonstrating how Britain could be different under Labour.
I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened. But somewhere, somehow, though I can scarcely believe I am saying it, I've become a Royalist.
Diamond Jubilee? If you did not know, that is sixty years on the throne. Or, as she may see it, 60 years of hard work. By any definition, that is a long career. For the whole of this time, The Queen has lived by her mother's well-worn mantra: 'Never complain. Never explain.'
It is often said that whist people are studying at university they live in their own little 'uni-bubble', and in my opinion this is sort of true.
There will be differences of opinion and approaches in tackling this. But the constant demonisation of Muslims and their institutions by the media, and the lacklustre response by the Westminster political class to anti-Muslim intolerance, is not helpful.
The Church of England alone enjoys world-class privileges which are the very antithesis of inclusivity. Above all, it continues to enjoy representation in our legislature through its nomination of 26 bishops in the House of Lords. It is the only religious body in a western democracy to have such power. The bishops who sit in Parliament have real power, and exercise it.