Meet the Diamond (re)Collection Panel

Today we will be presenting Her Majesty The Queen, Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society and Head of the Commonwealth with the sealed Jubilee Time Capsule.

Her Majesty will receive the Diamond (re)Collection (top 60 entries) at a special presentation event, attended by contributors and supporters.

Amongst the assembled guests will be the panel of judges that had the difficult job of selecting the top 60 entries. The panel made their selections following the sealing of the Capsule on 30th September and will be present to witness the Diamond (re)Collection’s unveiling today.

The following judges sat on the panel:

  • The Honourable Lady Jane Roberts LVO, Royal Librarian at the Royal Collection, Windsor.
  • Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS, Director-General of the Royal Photographic Society.
  • Mr Benedict Brogan, Deputy Editor at The Telegraph.
  • Ms Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author of Half of a Yellow Son and Purple Hibiscus, and Commonwealth Writer’s Prize winner in 2005.
  • Mr Dean Finch, Group Chief Executive of National Express Group PLC.
  • Mr Shehan Karunatilaka, author of Chinaman: the Legend of Pradeep Mathew which won the 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize.

Guest Post by Marie-Therese

Hello, my name is Marie-Therese, I’m 18 years old and am taking a gap year before entering the baffling world of university, where I will hopefully be reading Human Sciences.

My time at the JTC came to an end last week, and even though my work experience spanned a mere two weeks, I already miss it! There were some instances when concerned faces would appear, asking whether scanning in the endless pile of entries was mind-numbing work, but it was in fact overall a very eye-opening experience. It also helped that the RCS team just so happens to be very cool.

I had never thought prior to starting my set task that it would be in any way an emotional experience, but I guess submerging myself in 60 years worth of social history for hours on end would have some effect on me. The fact that I was holding the original copy of occasionally very personal essays made for an almost confidential process- before I uploaded them online to be accessible to the public. I was genuinely saddened by some, and had to stifle a few laughs to not seem like the repetitive work was getting a little too much for me. Some of my favourites are as follows-

I’ll begin with something light and cheerful; Smile, smile, smile by Sudipto Das. The picture not only reminds us to smile (one should always smile), but also captures a very poignant reality of Indian development. Yes, this adorable photo holds an economic background- here the photographer has captured the positive contribution microfinance has brought to rural villages.

Children laughing after school, India

Next, A poem for my twin cousins by Neha Shah. This is wonderfully cute, you can see how much love Neha has for her newborn cousins, and rightly so, the world should be aware of their existence. And it rhymes perfectly.

Neha's twin baby cousins

And finally, a very powerful essay by Tariro Jackson. He recounts with great eloquence an extremely difficult time for Zimbabwe; a time of catastrophic drought and political insecurity. He is only twelve yet he comes across as very mature and speaks with great truth which meant I reread his essay a few times before I was able to digest it. I really respect Tariro for what he has endured, his bravery, and his gift of allowing us to understand something we are not familiar with despite the media’s focus on global crises. There are so many prejudices when it comes to these matters and Tariro sets the record straight.

I think the Queen will be very touched by this social archive and moved by the sheer amount of change that has occurred during her 60 years on the throne. All in all, my experience at the RCS is very much valued, I hope it will fuel my final but slightly vague goal in life- to travel and help people. Vague, I know.


Jubilee Time Capsule closed for submissions!

The Jubilee Time Capsule closed for submissions on 30th September 2012.

We have been overwhelmed with the thousands of fantastic entries we’ve received from across the Commonwealth. From stories of school days to stories of independence days, and from memories of the Coronation to memories of the Royal Wedding, a very colourful and complex history of the last 60 years has emerged.

A special panel of judges is now busy curating the Diamond (re)Collection and we will announce which entries will be presented to The Queen very soon

The Diamond (re)Collection is the 60 very best Jubilee Time Capsule entries, hand-picked by our distinguished panel judges and curated into a special collection for Her Majesty The Queen, the collection will later be gifted to the Royal Collection.

We want to say a big thank you to everyone who has contributed – we couldn’t have done it without you. Please do continue to explore the content in our interactive Gallery and see what you can learn!

Only 3 weeks to go until the Jubilee Time Capsule is sealed…

Queen Elizabeth the second

There are only 3 weeks to go until our special Jubilee Time Capsule is sealed forever, a digital Diamond Jubilee gift to Her Majesty the Queen! When we say ‘ours’ we really do mean it – people from all over the world have been contributing to the Capsule, filling it with memories from the last 60 years of Her Majesty the Queen’s reign. From Grenada to Singapore, from Olympic Gold medalist Kirani James to interviews with the grandparents, we have read thousands of your fabulous entries, and we can’t wait for the Queen to see them too!

Last week Chiang Yan Li from Singapore wrote this great entry about her school which won her an engraved iPod touch: (yes, we are giving one away every week until the end of September!)

We are also running a photography competition with The Royal Photographic Society. To win a trip to London, and for the chance to be mentored by RPS photographers, submit your photographic entry into the Capsule here and to read more about our Competitions click here.

… there are only 3 weeks to go until the Jubilee Time Capsule is sealed for good!

Remembering: the Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Slave Trade

William Hague

William Hague speaks on the abolition of slavery

Today is the international day of Slavery Remembrance, which William Hague has marked out as one of the most memorable days in British history with his entry to the JTC. He remembers 25th March, 2007- the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery and a day which changed the moral fibre of our country forever.

In his entry he talks about William Wilberforce, the British philanthropist who battled to abolish the slave trade for 26 years before the Slave Trade Act of 1807 was finally passed, and slavery was officially abolished in Britain. He also remembers the famous slave, Olaudah Equiano, whose best-selling accounts of his own life and the barbarity of the slave trade, played a big role in stirring public feelings of anti-slave trade sentiment.

“Today, human-slavery reaches across every continent and culture…” – William Hague.

In his entry William Hague points to the abolition of the slave trade as a moment in history which we can take courage from. He draws attention to the 800,000 people who are estimated to be trafficked across international borders each year, and the ongoing battle which needs to be fought against modern slavery.

You can see his entry by clicking here.

Guest Post from Intern Alice

Today is my last day as an intern at the RCS after 4 months of mainly working on the Jubilee Time Capsule. Helping out at the RCS through this hectic summer in Britain gave me loads of opportunities I would have never had otherwise. From watching the Jubilee River Pageant on Waterloo Bridge to an after-hours tour of Westminster Abbey, the perks of volunteering for the RCS have certainly not disappointed. I think the main perk though, has been working on a project as unique as the JTC (and I don’t HAVE to say that anymore so its definitely true).

Working on the JTC has given me a chance to read/hear/watch some incredible stories and learn a lot from the people of the Commonwealth about life all over the world, in places I didn’t even know existed before this summer (sorry, Norfolk Island). Entries in the JTC can be sad, funny, even a little frightening at times but all of them are informative in their own way. As an aspiring historian, I really appreciate how valuable a resource like the JTC will be for future generations of researchers of all ages looking at life in the Commonwealth over the last 60 years. Here are some of the entries that I have particularly enjoyed (not including my own, obviously):

Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius made history at the Olympics and in the JTC with his amusing entry about growing up with a disability

Oscar Pistorius’ entry, a consistent staff favourite, is definitely on my list of top entries. He speaks humorously about learning that his disability didn’t have to mean disadvantage and his performance at London 2012 definitely proved just that.

John Samson's Drawing

John Samson, a student at Jacaranda School for Orphans in Malawi, submitted a drawing of himself in his school uniform

We had several entries from the Jacaranda School for Orphans but one that stood out to me was from John Samson about going to the school and living with HIV. His entry is a moving look at a life that most people can’t imagine through the eyes of a child.

The Coronation

Queen Elizabeth II makes a balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace after her coronation.

Zoe Simpson from the UK recorded her grandmother’s memories of being in London for the coronation in 1953 and after this year’s Jubilee celebrations it seems appropriate to include one of my favourite entries from the day it all began. Adoration of the Queen and the Royal Family is not in short supply in the JTC and as an American (I know, I know) I’ve been impressed by the positive outpouring of sentiment from the people of the Commonwealth for Queen Elizabeth II. It’s clear how much she means to so many people all over the world and it’s touching to see the memories that people want to share with the JTC to celebrate her reign.

I am sad my time at the RCS is over but apparently my MA takes priority (or so says my tutor), so instead of writing blog posts, I’ll be writing a dissertation for the remainder of the summer. I certainly won’t be forgetting everything I’ve gotten to do at the RCS and in the hopefully not-so-distant future, I’ll be able to work on a project as entertaining and informative as the JTC.

–Intern Alice

The London 2012 Olympics Close With A Party!

Closing Ceremony London 2012

Fireworks light up the Olympic Stadium and close out the London 2012 Olympic Games

17 days of London 2012 Olympic events closed yesterday with a celebration of British pop music through the past several decades. From the Spice Girls to Annie Lennox to a video tribute to John Lennon, a wide variety of music genres and legends were honoured during the celebration. The pageantry and showmanship were undeniably British and will surely not be forgotten. Looking back we tried to come up with some of our favourite memories of these Olympics and after some debate here are just a few of the moments we came up with:

Chad Le Clos of South Africa beating Michael Phelps in the 200m Butterfly by .05 seconds!

Kirani James taking home Grenada’s first EVER Olympic medal – which just happened to be gold in the Men’s 400m.

Stephen Kiprotich winning the Men’s Marathon and Uganda’s first gold medal since 1972!

The Canadian Women’s Football Team coming back from a heartbreaking defeat in the semi-finals to win a historic bronze medal.

Indian wrestler Sushil Kumar became the first Indian athlete to take home a medal in successive games!

Sally Pearson reacted fantastically to winning gold for Australia in the women’s Hurdles and her celebration was a defining image of the Games.

These are just a few of the moments we loved from London 2012 but there were so many more to choose from!

While we’re disappointed that the Games are over, we are definitely looking forward to the Paralympic Games in a few weeks time! In the meantime, we would love to see your best memories from London 2012! What events had you on the edge of your seat? Did any winners surprise you? Tell us about your favourite Olympic memories on the Jubilee Time Capsule!