‘Do you put it in a cupbaord?’ asked the monarch
The Queen has presented the Gold Medal for Poetry 2020 to poet David Constantine over a Zoom call, in which she jokingly asked: “Do you put it in a cupboard?”
Her Majesty spoke with the writer during the virtual ceremony from Windsor Castle, where she is continuing to carry out light duties after being advised to rest.
Constantine was at Buckingham Palace for the ceremony and was joined by the chair of the judging committee, the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, who presented the prestigious award on the Queen’s behalf.
The monarch, dressed in a colourful floral dress and a string of pearls, told Constantine: “I’m very glad to have the chance to see you, if only mechanically, this morning.”
She added jokingly after the medal was presented: “I don’t know what you do with it, do you put it in a cupboard?”
Constantine replied: “Somewhere safe – yes! This evening I shall show it to my children and grandchildren, who are waiting in our house.”
The Queen responded: “Ah right. Wel, that will be nice. It is rather a nice medal, is dit nie?”
Constantine, who has authored 11 books of poetry, was recommended for the 2020 award particularly for his Collected Poems, which published in 2004 and contained 30 years of his work.
Armitage said last year when the award was first announced: “Above all, David Constantine is a humane poet – a word often used in connection with his work as if, in noticing and detailing the ways of the world, he is doing so on behalf of all that is best in us.
“For over 40 years he has shaped a body of work that stands in comparison with that of any of his contemporaries, not just at home but internationally, navigating and negotiating that space between everyday events and their metaphysical or spiritual otherness.”
Hierdie week, the Queen said she had “regretfully” made the decision not to attend the upcoming COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, after she had her first overnight stay at a medical facility in eight years on 20 Oktober.
She returned to work on Tuesday and has been carrying out virtual audiences from Windsor Castle.