The Royal Families Trees

It’s Queen Elizabeth’s 80th birthday today. So a royal theme to this post.
A while ago, I was watching a news report about the Queens tour of Australia. She was planting a ceremonial tree in the grounds of some institution. It was next to a tree that she’d planted many years ago. It struck me as quite amazing that she’d be back in the same place, perhaps 50 years later doing the same thing. But then again - just imagine the number of trees she has planted since reaching whatever age is considered appropriate for a royal to get some peat on their hands. During her reign, The Queen has undertaken over 256 official overseas visits to 129 different countries. Lets do some rough calculations: I guess a conservative estimate would be two or three trees per visit, - so lets assume a figure of 1,536. Maybe she plants between 10 and 15 per year of her reign in the UK. That means a grand total of something like 2,346 trees (which incidentally would absorb 1,716.18923077284 tonnes of C02). Perhaps future forests should sign her up.
These trees are scattered across the globe forming a kind of dispersed royal forest – displaced in space and time. Imagine reuniting these trees: a cross between an arboretum and Cilla Blacks’ ‘Surprise Surprise’.

Factor in others planted by the Queen Mother, Prince Charles and other royals, and you are starting to get a very odd view of the monarchies activities. One might assume that they were a firm of ridiculously overdressed gardeners – wearing pastel suits, hats and using gold plated ceremonial shovels that are part Spear and Jackson and part Crown Jewels. There is certainly something odd about a manual activity that has been turned into a ceremonial act. It is as though the world has turned upside down for a second and the mundane becomes imbued with some special significance.

Royal forests used to be large areas of land, roped off from the public where the sovereign could hunt, or keep a lodge with a mistress, of act as a kind of larder providing pheasants and venison and fish for the royal table. The Queens new forest is stealthy and dispersed. It is contemporary version of a natural phenomenon, supported by an infrastructure of royal vehicles: yachts, planes, cars and trains. So perhaps not exactly carbon neutral.

Posted by sam at April 21, 2006 11:12 AM

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