From my very first day at the Lower School, I have always felt proud to be a Queen’s girl and so I am especially delighted to have been chosen to be Head Girl.
Recently I had the most extraordinarily good fortune to be invited to represent our school at a civic lunch with the Queen and the Duchess of Sussex. The crowds that gathered outside Storyhouse and the Town Hall were testament to the affection that Chester has for The Queen and how many people were pleased to welcome the Duchess on one of her first official Royal engagements.
At my table, I found myself part of a deeply interesting conversation on social mobility and how the room in which we sat - to our great delight - reflected a Great Britain built on social progression. The hall was filled with those who had achieved something in their lives through education, intelligence and often just dogged persistence.
The presence of the Duchess of Sussex was another obvious symbol of societal progression. A mixed race member of the Royal family seemed a highly unlikely occurrence only a short while ago. And, whilst they are not exactly known as traditional agents of change, the Royals are role models and the progression we see in their family reflects the progression in society as a whole. The Duke and Duchess are a symbol for both the Royal family’s and the UK’s future, a country filled with both tradition and diversity which embraces change.
My positivity falters however when I read about recent events within the UK which have made Britain seem less welcoming and a less diverse place. In particular, the recent Windrush scandal, which very much affected me as the grand-daughter of a Windrush immigrant. I have been helping my grandpa to guarantee his British citizenship after his request for a renewed passport was denied. As a family we are hopeful that this hurtful and anxious time will be resolved soon but for a situation like this to have occurred in the first place seems out of step with the modern Britain I know.
Fortunately, the latest census data reveals that people who are of mixed heritage are the fastest growing demographic group. There is power in numbers and through increasing diversity in high-profile figures, such as the Duchess, we may hopefully promote social progression in our country to a point where situations such as the Windrush scandal are consigned to history.
In the meantime, I hope that the Duchess finds the acceptance in her new family and the British community that we at Queen’s take for granted. I will work hard throughout my time at Queen’s to ensure that the ethos of acceptance continues to develop and grow.
by Head Girl Alex McDonald