Let’s go for four days of historic celebrations: from June 2 to 5, the British celebrate the platinum jubilee, that is to say the seventy years of reign, of Elizabeth II. She became queen on the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, and was crowned on June 2, 1953. This is the first time a British monarch has achieved such longevity on the throne. Aged 96, weakened since the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in April 2021, the queen hardly moves anymore, but she is at the height of her popularity: 75% of Britons questioned by the YouGov institute appreciate.
This is far from being the case for all “royals”: Charles, heir to the throne, obtains only 50% popularity, while Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, are almost last in the ranking (at 32% and 24% favorable), just ahead of Prince Andrew, whose reputation is tarnished by his closeness to sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. However, the republican current remains a minority in the country: according to another YouGov poll published on Wednesday June 1, six out of 10 Britons (62%) think that the United Kingdom should remain a monarchy and only 22% say that the country should rather opt for an elected head of state.
Like the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 (sixty years of reign) or the Golden Jubilee in 2002 (fifty years of reign), this Platinum Jubilee is an opportunity for the Windsor family to reconnect with the population and test its popularity. . “This may be the last time the Queen is seen in public, her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace will be poignant in that regard. But this jubilee is welcome because it is also the first time in a long time that we will have the opportunity to celebrate something really positive about the royal family, and not deaths or scandals, “said Omid Scobie, family expert royal and author of the book Finding Freedom on the “Megxit”, the departure of the couple Harry and Meghan for California.
Two public holidays
Four major public events must punctuate this exceptional long weekend – the Johnson government has granted two public holidays to the British, Thursday and Friday. Thursday morning, starting at 10 a.m. (local time, 11 a.m. CET) will take place the military parade “Trooping the colour”, marking the ceremonial birthday of the Queen – she was actually born on April 21, 1926. parade more than 1,200 officers and soldiers of the Household Division, from Horse Guard, the building of the mounted guard, near Downing Street, seat of government, to the foot of Buckingam Palace.
If her “mobility problems”, in the words of Buckingham Palace, do not prevent it, the Queen should make her traditional appearance on the balcony of the Palace, surrounded by the only “active” members of the royal family: William and his wife Kate, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; Charles and his wife Camilla, Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall; Prince Edward and his wife Sophie, Earl and Countess of Wessex.
She could also be present on Friday, during a service at St. Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, or Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee service in June 1897. On Saturday, the BBC is hosting a concert inside Buckingham Palace, with an impressive line-up of stars (Queen Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow, George Ezra…).
Finally, on Sunday, a parade is planned on the “Mall”, the alley going to Buckingham Palace, retracing the seventy years of reign of the queen, with floats and giant puppets. According to the information distilled by the Palace, the sovereign should probably watch these two events on television, from Windsor, where she now lives permanently.
Popular celebrations and commercial fever
The celebrations will also be popular: in all, 16,000 street parties have been counted across the country, from Northern Ireland to Scotland to Wales and England. Hundreds of concerts, workshops for children and street entertainment are also planned.
The fervor of the British already seemed to be there on Wednesday, the Mall already being invaded by onlookers, for the final preparations for Trooping the Colour, and the first tents of the “super fans” of the Queen, dressed in the colors of the Union Jack from head to foot, had made their appearance on the London pavement, along the procession. A way to secure a place in the front row on Thursday.
Commercial fever is also part of it. Supermarkets all sell “street party” kits, complete with paper pennants, napkins and plates. The Marks chain of stores
Harry and Meghan’s party
The airwaves are already saturated with nostalgic programs: the BBC broadcast on May 29 a documentary made up of unpublished archive videos of the Windsors, between the Blitz and the death of King George VI. Every morning for the past few days, BBC Radio 4 has been broadcasting the Queen’s important speeches in full, from the first, on October 13, 1940, in the midst of war, when, as a little girl, she wished “courage” to the other children of the kingdom, to the founding speech of her future reign, delivered from the South African city of Cape Town in 1947, where she promised to devote her entire life to her charge.
What could possibly spoil the party? The weather for the next few days is forecast to be cool and wet for the season. Not enough to discourage the British, who will take out their ponchos and umbrellas: the Diamond Jubilee, in 2012, took place under a real deluge. The British media, largely hostile to Meghan and Harry, are more worried about the couple’s intentions.
The ‘Sussexes’ remain a magnet for the cameras and, if they stray from the official schedule – they are expected to feature at Trooping the Color and St. Paul – they could overshadow the jubilee. Especially if they are followed by a film crew from Netflix, which the press suspects of filming a report on them. Unless the couple is discreet and restricts their British stay to family reunions. The Queen has yet to meet their second child, one-year-old Lilibet, who goes by the Queen’s nickname and will be on the trip, as will her older brother, 3-year-old Archie.