Dear Reader: Real need for Harrogate Mayor + loving Harry & Meghan
A personal column by the Harrogate Advertiser's Graham Chalmers
I was lucky enough to be a guest at the annual mayor making in Harrogate on Monday night.
It was probably the closest I’ll ever get to being invited to an investiture at Buckingham Palace.
Without a chain of office or a splash of ermine I felt a little underdressed in the unfamiliar surroundings of the new, environmentally-friendly Harrogate Civic Centre.
There was so much ‘bling’ around thanks to the assorted councillors, mayors, high sheriffs, police chiefs and senior military officers it could have been a convention of rappers, asides from the obvious differences.
At one point someone appeared with a giant mace as if in a scene from the opening of the Houses of Parliament – or Game of Thrones.
As well as the announcement of the new line-up of cabinet members in the borough council where the Conservatives have the majority, there were respectful tributes to - and heartfelt speeches by – the outgoing and incoming mayors of the district.
With the CV of four men’s lifetimes, the new mayor Bernard Batemen did well to keep his brief.
The previous mayor Anne Jones cut through the formalities with a passionate address about how much the community really appreciated the role in this day and age.
Handing over the glittering mayoral chains under everyone’s watchful eye proved a bit fiddly to say the least.
To be fair, the clanking civic links are actually fairly heavy, I’m told.
Who would have thought it in the 21st century?
Like the the office of mayor itself, they’re not merely a matter of decoration, they still mean something.
The roads were eerily deserted on Saturday in Harrogate as, I suspect, they were in most places in the Harrogate district.
It could mean only one thing. Unless relations between nuclear rivals the USA and North Korea had taken a drastic turn for the worse, most of us were wrapped up in the royal wedding.
It’s a sign of changes times that’s street parties by her majesty’s subjects were thin on the ground, although churches did try to do their bit.
Instead everyone seemed to be indoors glued to the TV or in the back garden enjoying fizz and barbecue with the TV set up in a prominent location.
Even I got caught up in the mania for Harry and Meghan.
I only meant to watch the start but, what can I say, it was a truly extraordinary occasion.
The whole thing brought back memories of a sadder time nearly 21 years ago in a different church; the funeral of a princess.
So unusual were Saturday’s events, they felt a little like the culmination of everything Di had fought for, and stood, for in her short life.