When I was little, I was taught all the obvious rules of behaviour – how to hold a knife and fork; to ask permission to get down from the table; to not interrupt adult conversation – basically to recognise that, as a child, I had neither earned, nor deserved, my place centre stage.

As I grew, my mother subtly, and sometimes not so subtly, drip fed the other rules of decency.

Number one was to treat all people with the same courtesy and respect.

Houses/homes and their contents were unimportant; it was the warmth of the welcome within that counted, whether cabin or ‘big house’ as it was called in Ireland.

Judging, or rather, valuing people for their possessions, their position, their status, was both vulgar and foolish, for many hide their true character behind such trappings.

At times her disdain for ‘trappings’ caused me great embarrassment and ridicule.

Bringing home a girl from school for the weekend, in a bid to be part of her popular gang, we entertained her, I thought, royally. Listening to her stilted conversation, I couldn’t catch my mother’s eye for I was aware of being ashamed that I was so desperate for this dull girl’s approval.

All my mother said afterwards was: ‘Be careful. This girl is no friend.’

And so it proved when I heard her laughing with the ‘in’ crowd, all side-eying me as I entered class.

I was bitterly hurt and baffled to discover that she had regaled them with all the things – material things – we didn’t have, rather than the warmth and hospitality with which she’d been received.

My mother was equally hurt….but for me, not herself. Brought up in ‘the big house’ she’d had an enviable life, so when all was taken from her with the death of her 29-year-old husband, possessions mattered little. She’d had them all.

She was dismayed to realise that perhaps such wisdom only comes with knowledge of both and the recognition that, of course, as a child, I craved not to be different. Just to be accepted.

In response she gave me pride – pride in my history, both family and country; pride in standing alone for one’s beliefs; pride in never following the herd; pride in being different, in being true to oneself no matter what.

Over the years of course I’ve transgressed many of her rules but always deliberately and in the sure knowledge of what I was doing.

One I hope I never have, was her instruction: When a guest is in your house, you must never, ever make him/her feel uncomfortable. Whatever they wish you must try to provide.

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And so, I have stayed up until the early hours listening to drunken ramblings while desperate for sleep; refereed the break-up of at least two marriages; heard confidences I wish I’d never, ever, heard, and emerged in time for breakfast to pretend no memory of all that had passed.

I thought of all that watching the Trump state visit, or rather watching the Queen receive him in a magnificent display of pomp and ceremony.

Seeing the 93-year-old monarch placed in such a position by her Prime Minister and circumnavigating it with grace and courtesy was a lesson to us all. A reminder to me.

Not in any way over-effusive, certainly never deferential, she rose as always to the occasion in which she’d been placed. For that is her job – her destiny and the price she must pay for the continuity of her House.

I grew up in a republic. I live in a famous republic. I hope Scotland becomes a republic.

But I, perhaps surprisingly, respect, appreciate and value Britain’s Royal Family.

It’s the roof on a society that often and rightly erupts in rage and violence. The lid on the often crass, bully-boy ignorance of many of its subjects.

I’m aware this will enrage those who see the Royals as the root of all evil, and certainly in past times when they had real power, they were. But such was life.

Now, they are more or less ceremonial and their power is to overwhelm, overawe others with dignity, courtesy and manners, again transcending tawdry politics.

France has never quite forgiven itself for ‘losing’ its Royal Family in gruesome ways.

The palaces and chateaux connected with them have been lovingly restored and they are in the top five most visited in the world.

Our papers and magazines are slightly obsessed with Her Majesty and all around her.

Ceremonial events at the Elysee have a formal, precise formation that come from the past, almost a sigh of regret and remorse. And envy looking towards the UK.

All these thoughts came as I watched the now-stooped Queen go through yet another interminable game on behalf of the country.

She gave, it’s said, a coded message in her speech that could be conceived as anti-Brexit. She did something similar with a hat not so long ago.

In her own way, and within her gilded cage, she is a rebel. But she never forgets the rules of good-mannered engagement.

Never makes her guests feel ill at ease, no matter her private thoughts. My mother would have approved.