By Martha MacCallum

It was wet, soaking wet, and pretty uncomfortable for all of us watching the grand thousand boat Thames pageant in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

But you didn't dare complain. After all, there she was standing on the barge next to her 90 year old husband. Both of them ramrod straight. She no doubt employing the trick she learned long ago, stand with feet slightly apart, knees just slightly bent, and you can last like that through any parade or receiving line.

One got the feeling of what it must be like to be one of her children. No whinging as they say in Britain! Do your duty, smile and be gracious. She marveled at all the people, the stunning array of ships and music.

In the crowd, an almost unanimous outpouring of affection. The most common expressions were those of love and thanks for her "always being there." She has served as a constant reminder of what it means to be British and she has represented her people through 12 prime ministers and every president since Truman.

She makes the people proud and they are grateful for the stability and consistency that she has given them all their lives.

Before her coronation at the age of just 25 she said this, "I declare before you all that my life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service." And, "I pray that God will help me to discharge worthily this heavy task that has been lain upon me so early in my life."

Although it has not always been smooth sailing and there have been heavy swells at times, her nation and even her children seem to be heaping praise and thanks on her in a way we've not always seen in the past. Prince Charles did a short film about her and in it he had shown movies his father made of her coming back from Kenya after her father died. Charles seemed newly understanding at the sight of his young mother in grief and yet about to come to power. He glowed emotionally, as we have not seen before when he talked of her as queen and mum.

Just as age seems to give us all a better understanding of our parents, that seems to be the feeling of appreciation the queen is enjoying from her family and her subjects this jubilee weekend.