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Queen stays at arm's length
MILLIONS of TV viewers watching the midnight frolics at the Millennium Dome were perplexed. No, not at the struggle to get in by 3,000 guests who didn't get their tickets sent while the People's Prime Minister and selected pals whisked there on a tube line reserved for their private use, but by the Queen's apparent reluctance to cross arms with Tony Blair during the singing of Auld Lang Syne.
But we are told that Her Majesty got it right - and that those who know their Scottish traditions do not hold hands at all until the singing of the last verse, no matter that millions of ignorant Sassenachs and folk the world over have been doing the very opposite every New Year's Eve for donkey's years.
I am sure that we are all now very grateful to the Queen for showing us the right way.
Make a note of it if you want the protocol to be correct at the next Millennium do -there are only 365,246 days to go.
However, no matter what we are told about the rights and wrongs of linking up manually with one's neighbour during the rendition of Auld Lang Syne and the Queen's supposedly superior knowledge of the same, the image that came across on the night was of a monarch who hasn't a clue what the common touch is and is a stiff and snooty old woman who is light years out of touch with her people.
The institution she represents is, I think, hardly likely to see the end of the century, never mind the next millennium - and largely because of how aloofly she represents it now.
Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.