7 July 2011

My Dream

If you're a die-hard Britophile like me then you probably find yourself daydreaming about tea, heavenly accents, digestive biscuits, Ascot, and the Queen--embarrassingly often. But have you ever longed for rainy days when the sun insists on shining and preferred a semi-good-tasting pastille to a delicious American cookie? Does your love of Britain border on the nonsensical?

Perhaps I go too far in my affection, but the strange thing is that I don't know why! For years I have had a fascination with Britain, and England in particular, but it's hard to find a reason. If I could pinpoint a beginning for all of it, I would say that it was reading novels about the kings and queens of England, and becoming absolutely obsessed with King Henry VIII and Richard III, not to mention King Arthur. But I was also greatly interested in Marie Antoinette and Joan of Arc at that time, so what ended up drawing me to Britain as my greatest love?

Strangely enough, there are many like me. "Anglophile" is a widely accepted term now, and there are vast online communities targeted at those non-natives with an uncanny passion for England and Britain. I picked up a book at the library a year or two ago called Someday My Prince Will Come, which was written by a woman who was born to a couple of small-town-USA hippies and had the inexplicable ambition to go to England and marry Peter Phillips (the only son of Princess Anne). And this wasn't just a half-wished pipe dream, it was a full-blown obsession and maybe more. After visiting several English palaces, the author--Jerramy Fine--writes:

"Whatever the reason, the feelings I experienced in these royal buildings was always exactly the same: Imagine the deepest, most crippling love you've ever been in and mix that with the most painful sadness you've ever felt, then multiply it by a thousand. And then imagine it swoops down on you out of nowhere—so hard it knocks the wind out of you, and you can barely breathe. That's what it felt like."

She cried when she saw the royal jewels, and fell into a state of ecstasy at Windsor Castle. And the really weird thing is that she didn't feel like that at royal residences in France, Monaco, Italy, etc. It was a sensation unique to England.

I, too, have gotten teary-eyed at times when thinking over Britain, and it's nice to think that I'm not alone. Still, it is rather disturbing to think that there are some people who couldn't care less if the British Isles just sloughed off into the sea, and then there are others who (despite never having been there) are passionately in love with the place. What makes Britain so special? Jerramy Fine thought that she might have been English in a past life, but I don't happen to believe in reincarnation. So that's out. I want to find out more about England. I want to actually go there and experience this magnetic mystique for myself. I want to satisfy this inexplicable craving. And that's where my journey begins.

Silhouette, a photo by Fr Antunes on Flickr.


  1. Your post sounds like I could have written it! I feel the same way - and I can't think of why! People often ask me where my love for England comes from and I can never pinpoint it. I have no idea where it came from, it was just there one day. I'm especially obsessed with London (is it bad that I daydream about it every single day?) and I can remember as a little kid that I thought London was cool because it started with an "L" like my name. Hehe... so maybe that is where it all began?

    I finally had an opportunity to go when I was 22 (just 3 years ago now) and work for three months in London (unfortunately the program through which I went, called BUNAC, has since closed for Britain). Until then it seemed like it would never happen and then it did and went by ridiculously fast. Now I am continually planning future trips and even thinking up possible masters degrees I can get that would require me to go to England to study. Anyway, I am sure your turn is just around the corner! I'm looking forward to reading this blog in the meantime. :)

  2. How wonderful, Laura! I'm so glad to know that there's someone like me who had a dream and actually fulfilled it. Thank you so much for commenting and I hope that you have many more opportunities to visit the land we love!

  3. Hooray! I can comment here (haven't figured out how on Picture Britain)! I'm not obsessed, but I do share some of your fascination. I love pictures and stories about the royals, and novels historical or otherwise set in Britain. I'm about to go read your post on Mary, Queen of Scots now. My mother, whose maiden name was Stuart, used to joke that we were descended from her, and my poor sister believed her and told it to her class at school.

  4. Thanks for commenting, Judeann! I see that you learned how to on Picture Britain (if there's a problem with that then I'd really like to know!). That's funny about your "royal ancestry". Who knows, perhaps there is a distant connection! Genealogy is a fascinating thing. I found out that my family actually has an ancestral castle in Scotland!


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