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Will this be the last Jubilee? Miserable snobs love to hate the celebrations

Better than Qatar 2022. (Sion Touhig/Getty Images)

Better than Qatar 2022. (Sion Touhig/Getty Images)


August 30, 2022   7 mins

It was the spring of 2002, and in the Guardian, the satirist John O’Farrell was licking his lips at the inevitable failure of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. “Tragically,” he wrote mockingly, “this joyous anniversary seems to be regarded with widespread cynicism and apathy
 Street parties, like the royal family, are just a bit out of fashion
 So wave that flag and open that champagne. Because for a decade now, nobody has cared about the monarchy.”

He was right — or seemed to be. Only a few weeks earlier, the same paper had reported “panic at the palace over the lack of street parties”. The official Golden Jubilee website, exulted the Guardian, “bears a forlorn look. So far it lists a golden jubilee snooker and pool tournament in Plymouth, the planting of an oak in the village of Oxhill, Warwickshire, the planting of a jubilee garden at Cranmore infants’ school in Shirley, Birmingham, the placing of small fountains all over London — and precious little else.”

And then — what a comeback! When the Queen’s Jubilee weekend finally rolled around, it turned out that the Royal Family was only too fashionable after all. Two million people applied for tickets for the classical Prom at the Palace. A further million people packed into the Mall to see the handsomely coiffured Brian May kick off the Party at the Palace, while another 200 million watched on television. And although the Sex Pistols re-released “God Save the Queen” for the occasion, their hearts weren’t really in it. As a youngster, admitted the erstwhile Johnny Rotten, he had taken exception to the Queen’s “Mother Superior” tone. But “they’ve mellowed that out. Charles is a really good-natured bloke who talks to plants. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

There have been eight jubilees since the first, held for George III in October 1809, and the story has always been the same. For months everybody predicts a humiliating fiasco. Nobody cares, and nobody bothers to organise anything. Then at the last minute, to the horror of university lecturers and Twitterstorians across the land, millions of strange people come crawling out from beneath their rocks, waving their Union Jacks and openly daring to feel good about their country. This, of course, is how Nazi Germany started.

Like all great British institutions, the first Jubilee was basically an exercise in sticking it to the French. The Napoleonic Wars were in full swing, the British campaign in Flanders had become badly bogged down and Wellington was slogging his way across Spain in the Peninsular War. So the country needed cheering up, and the beginning of George III’s 50th year on the throne provided the perfect opportunity.

Although there was virtually no central organisation, most towns were happy to plan their own celebrations, with local landowners footing the bill. There were ox-roasts and fetes, feasts and fireworks. People staged sword-fights and fired muskets, while the elderly king went to a service of thanksgiving. And there were special pardons for debtors, deserters and prisoners of war — though not, of course, if they were French.

For poor George himself the Jubilee was something of a last hurrah, since a year later he succumbed to madness. He spent the rest of his days endlessly weeping and tying and untying handkerchiefs, which is how most Guardian columnists are planning to spend the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next week. But the success of the event set a precedent, and in 1887 Lord Salisbury — not exactly an obvious party-going Prime Minister, but appearances can be deceptive — decided that Victoria should have a Golden Jubilee too.

At first the monarch was less than keen, fearing (ironically) that people would think a national celebration rather too Napoleonic. But Salisbury prevailed, and the result was a huge success, with vast crowds lining the streets of London to cheer Victoria on her way to Westminster Abbey.

There was, however, a remarkable twist. To mark the occasion, Salisbury decided to organise a false-flag terrorist plot, his agents encouraging a group of Irish-American Fenians to cross the Atlantic with some dynamite, purportedly to blow up both the Queen and Salisbury himself. Obviously the PM never intended the bomb to go off: the plan was to roll up the Fenian network in Britain and discredit sympathetic Irish nationalist MPs. Even so, the head of the Metropolitan Police’s “secret department” advised his own children not to attend the Jubilee service, just in case. Has Boris Johnson planned something similar this year? Given his organisational skills, let’s hope not.

All this was merely a curtain-raiser for the Woodstock of royal blowouts, the very acme of patriotic knees-ups, the Diamond Jubilee of June 1897. Not for nothing does this provide the centrepiece of Jan Morris’s great book on the apogee of imperialism, Pax Britannica, since it was explicitly conceived by the Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, as a “Festival of the British Empire”.

There were Jubilee events in every corner of the earth, from Ireland and India to Singapore and the Seychelles. And the London parade was the most spectacular the capital had ever seen. In Morris’s words: “There were Hussars from Canada and Carabiniers from Natal, camel troops from Bikaner and Dyak head-hunters from North Borneo
 There were Malays, and Sinhalese, and Hausas from the Niger and the Gold Coast, Jamaicans in white gaiters and ornately embroidered jackets, British Guiana police in caps like French gendarmes, Cypriot Zaptiehs whose fezzes struck so jarring a chord that some of the crowd hissed them, supposing them to be Turks, and a jangling squadron of Indian lancers led by a British officer in a white spiked helmet.”

Not surprisingly, Fleet Street’s finest were in a state of patriotic ecstasy. It was “a pageant which for splendour of appearance and especially for splendour of suggestion has never been paralleled in the history of the world”, reported Her Majesty’s Daily Mail, with “every man such a splendid specimen and testimony to the GREATNESS OF THE BRITISH RACE that there was not an Imperialist in the crowd who did not from the sight of them gain a new view of the glory of the British Empire”.

And equally unsurprisingly, do-gooding citizens of the world hated it. “Imperialism in the air,” Beatrice Webb lamented in her diary, shuddering at the sight of “all classes drunk with sightseeing and hysterical loyalty”.

Even over this greatest of all Jubilees, though, there was a shadow. Britain might have been Top Nation, but foreign rivals — the United States, Germany, even Russia — were catching up fast. When Joseph Chamberlain organised an imperial conference a few days after the jamboree, the other colonial delegates rejected his suggestion that they should form a permanent imperial federation, with a special council to coordinate their policies. And when Rudyard Kipling was invited to publish a Jubilee poem in The Times, the result — “Recessional” — read more as a prediction of imperial decline than a celebration of imperial glory:

Far-called, our navies melt away;
On dune and headland sinks the fire:
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget — lest we forget!

Kipling was right, of course. By the time of the next royal binge — George V’s Silver Jubilee of May 1935 — the tone was very different. Royal houses had crumbled all over Europe, Communism and Fascism were in their pomp and Britain was only just emerging from the Depression. The previous autumn, the Nazis had held their most spectacular Nuremberg rally yet, filmed by Leni Riefenstahl for Triumph of the Will. But George’s Jubilee could hardly have been more modest. There was plenty of bunting, of course, and there were thousands of street parties. But the imperial fervour was much reduced, and nothing better summed up the mood than the advent of the ancestor of coronation chicken — a concoction called Jubilee chicken, made with mayonnaise and curry powder.

It was a Pooterish dish for a Pooterish king, an unassuming, unexciting man who had never knowingly said an interesting or clever thing in his life. The Germans had their FĂŒhrer, the Russians had their General Secretary, and we had our King-Emperor, who liked stamp collecting and had very strong views about where you should crease your trousers. Quite rightly, though, people admired him for it. “I’d no idea they felt like that about me,’ said George, after crowds cheered him in the East End. “I’m beginning to think they must really like me for myself.”

If 1897 was the peak, the nadir was probably the Silver Jubilee of 1977. Most ordinary people actually had a tremendous time; and with record sales of Jubilee-themed jewellery, t-shirts, beer mugs, jeans, even egg timers, thermometers and ashtrays, Britain’s tat merchants were in dreamland. Even so, the fact that it rained for most of the day rather summed the whole thing up. Inflation was rampant, Jim Callaghan’s government had just cadged a record bailout from the International Monetary Fund, and the newspapers were generally full of doom and gloom. “The popular imagination can no longer feed on the glories and wonders of empire,” lamented The Times. “Nor, it has to be admitted, does the Britain of 1977, relieved of almost all its imperial baggage, present the sort of spectacle to light in the mind the bonfires of national rejoicing.”

Musically, the lowlight wasn’t the Pistols’ punk anthem, but the truly terrible “unofficial” Jubilee single by the former Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band member Neil Innes (sample lyrics: “Sailing in the yacht Britannia / Nowhere in the world would ban ya’ / Or your Royal Family”.) And while Kipling’s “Recessional” had at least been printable, Philip Larkin’s Jubilee poem, which he showed only to a few friends, is unlikely to feature on too many university reading lists today:

After Healey’s trading figures
After Wilson’s squalid crew
And the rising tide of niggers
What a treat to look at you!

By these standards, the Jubilees of 2002 and 2012 were positively joyous. And no doubt next week’s party will be fun, too. My 10-year-old son reports that his schoolmates are all very excited about it. Each class is going to dress up as a different Commonwealth country, and his own class has chosen Mozambique. As long as they don’t get Justin Trudeau to provide their costumes and make-up, what could possibly go wrong?

But what if, like Beatrice Webb and similarly miserable drips throughout history, you can’t stand the monarchy and aren’t looking forward to the Jubilee? Well, I have a consolation for you. Even if, God forbid, Prince Charles succeeded tomorrow, it’s statistically very unlikely that he’ll be around for a Silver Jubilee of his own. Even William, who is now almost 40, will probably do very well to mark his 25th year on the throne.

So this may very well be the last Jubilee most of us will ever see. Unless, of course
 we change the rules and have them every four years, like World Cups. It would drive the Guardian mad, of course. Let’s do it.


Dominic Sandbrook is an author, historian and UnHerd columnist. His latest book is: Who Dares Wins: Britain, 1979-1982

dcsandbrook

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Peter Scott
Peter Scott
1 year ago

Most people hate the Guardian (and with good reason).
Does nobody among its editors/owners/journalists ever discuss that fact?

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

They don’t believe the opinions of those people are even worthy of discussion.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Yet I still see plenty of people reading it on the train into London.

In public! The pervs.

David Bell
David Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

It’s a litmus indicator of anyone’s political leanings if one spots it on a couch or coffee table in their home.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Probably BBC employees and the like.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The circulation of the Guardian is, I believe, ~110,000, so a good number of those must be commuting to their places of work in Whitehall or Broadcasting House.

Mark Chadwick
Mark Chadwick
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

The Guardian is little more than a niche paper preaching to the converted.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Chadwick

Most papers are largely read by those who agree with them!

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

The editors and journalists of the Guardian don’t need to discuss the fact that few read it, because it has a solid niche amongst the disproportionately influential, who are just like themselves, and also foreign journalists, which is unfortunate, because they then think they are well-informed.
The ‘owner’ may be more concerned, because it is owned by the Scott Trust, and lost money for many years. However, it seems to have made the move online successfully, judging by the number of times it appears on my computer and smartphone, unbidden and unwelcome.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

And begging for funds as it goes!

Ian S
Ian S
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

I await with interest the findings of the ‘independent’ report into the Guardian’s historical roots in the slave trade. Can we expect statues to topple, perhaps? Or will reactions remain at the level of tut-tutting?

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

We had a street party in 77. I remember it as being a lovely sunny day.

We’re attending one on Saturday in my daughters small cul de sac. Of the 8 houses one is a family of Rumanians and one a family of Syrians. Both are very actively involved in the preparations.

Not sure what that says about anything, just thought it worth mentioning. Changing face of Britain and all that.

Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Integrating anywhere is fundamentally about joining in and showing interest in the host country and culture. Sounds like they’re on the right path.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

The greatest civilisation the world has ever seen, and is likely to ever see, was Ancient Rome, They were quite capable of absorbing absolutely everybody, even such intransigents as the Jews.
Sadly ‘we’, thanks to Christianity and many other forces are not so blessed.
For myself, my predecessors made a fortune in ‘black ivory’ and general plunder and profit throughout the all too short epoch of the British Empire. Are we really expected to welcome this change?

David Bell
David Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Good for them!

Robert Eagle
Robert Eagle
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

It may mean that we are a tiny bit more tolerant than when the Empire Windrush disgorged its passengers at Tilbury in 1948. Or would that be too optimistic?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Eagle

‘We’ are one the most tolerant nations on the planet as the Spanish philosopher Georges Santayana observed.
However ‘we’ do not like being deceived, as we have been continually over this vexed issue.

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

That’s encouraging, but I feel we still have a long way to go and sadly certain communities will never be or want to be integrated……My wife & I and some workmates attended the wedding of our Asian Muslim plumber ( we run a building business) & his Bengali wife last week, who we have been very close to for 10 years or so………looking after him in our house when he had a mental brakdown etc. My wife & her friend were separated from us, made to sit downstairs on their own table with all the women, who all ignored them, while we were sat upstairs on our own table and again, ignored by all the asian muslims there……There was no celebration, music, alchohol etc and it was a distinctly joyless few hours. My tablemates were all Albanian muslims, who had all been for beer beforehand and likened it to a funeral without a coffin! Its just a shame that unlike the Albanians, the pakistani muslim community can’t integrate itself at least a bit better to our society after all these years. The Alabanians have only been here under 10 years yet already they are on their way to absorbing many elements of English culture……Not so the other lot…

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Turner
Russell Hamilton
Russell Hamilton
1 year ago

Can Dominic Sandbrook please be made an official ‘National Treasure’?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago

Thank you Mr Sandbrook for having the temerity to include Larkin’s
brilliant twenty one word castigation of the state of the UK in 1977.

Last edited 1 year ago by ARNAUD ALMARIC
Roger le Clercq
Roger le Clercq
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Just So.

Geoffrey Hicking
Geoffrey Hicking
1 year ago

We had a jubilee that wasn’t overtly imperialistic when George III was on the throne and we can do it again. We don’t need an empire, for goodness sake. A well funded navy and strong economy are the fount of our power.

Regardless of what the Guardian might tell you, pride in empire and pride in nationhood are not the same thing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Geoffrey Hicking
ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago

It is however a pity that one of those two new aircraft carriers was not named H.M.S. Oliver Cromwell.

David Bell
David Bell
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

I’m surprised one wasn’t named H.M.S Nelson Mandela (after all, his father named him after the famous admiral).

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  David Bell

What a terrible thought, but not beyond reason!

Robert Eagle
Robert Eagle
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

So how about HMS King Edward VIII ?

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert Eagle

Even worse!

F Hugh Eveleigh
F Hugh Eveleigh
1 year ago

Oh I would love to drive the Guardian mad; it’s a delightful notion. We need celebrations now and then as we’re not like most other countries which have them annually … USA, France, Canada, Australia, NZ – flags galore and partying in full swing. The English are the worst. It’s the woke minority harping on from the sidelines at ‘patriotism’ or ‘national fervour’ and yet the Scots and the Irish (do the Welsh?) carry on but we don’t. Well, I do and so will many this coming weekend and so we damned well should. The oldest UK monarch ever, the longest reigning UK and English monarch ever and I believe the second longest reigning Sovereign in world history. Get out the glasses and get into the streets.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

Fantastic! Good work Dominic. Almost spat out my coffee at the Larkin verse laughing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Katharine Eyre
Katharine Eyre
1 year ago

This was a great read, thanks! 20 years ago I lived in London and went along with the golden jubilee celebrations. There was an open air concert in Hyde Park (I seem to remember Atomic Kitten performing – traumas do tend to burn themselves indelibly into the memory…) and I saw Charles, William and Harry on The Mall. The crowd was huge, I was 9 rows back, but caught my glimpse and managed a photo or two.
Now that I’m living far away (in a republic! Tut, tut…) I think I shall probably have a few private patriotic moments, raise a glass to our Liz (even my devoutly anti-royal partner will join in for that…and then scoff at the rest of it) and that will be about it.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
1 year ago

May the monarchy last forever

Robert Eagle
Robert Eagle
1 year ago

Poor old King George “endlessly weeping and tying and untying handkerchiefs”. That’s just how I feel when I listen to the news every day. Maybe he wasn’t quite as mad as it’s claimed.

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 year ago

Is the Royal Family’s support for multiculturalism, mass immigration and “diversity” not enough cause to reject the Windsors and partake in an alternative celebration instead of the Jubilee. We hear this trite crap about them not being political but the Windsors seem to be very much in favour of the demographic tsunami that will render white British people stateless before the end of the century. This comment may be a bit too full on for some of you. But I believe it is the greatest national issue of our time, perhaps of all time. I support the institution of monarchy but cannot reconcile myself to it in its at best ineffectual guise, and at worse, harmful orientation towards what I and many others deem to be the national interest. Maybe another aristocratic family in the place of the Windsors would remedy the institution of monarchy? This is in no way meant to signify my endorsement of some sort of 1642 job.
Well done for a fine article.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

Thank you for having the courage to say that. I thought of saying the the very same, but to my eternal shame ‘bottled it’ on advice from my Chief of Staff.
However no other ‘aristocratic’ family would make any difference, the damage is already done and well beyond repair. Rather smugly, as a member of the WFD*Cohort, I rejoice in the fact that I shall not see the cataclysmic end of all this.
The Windsors have proved to be a most dysfunctional family on a personal level, and acceptably supine on a national level. However one must not mock the afflicted.
Perhaps ‘we’ should have thought harder about inviting the wretched Charles II to return in 1660?

(*Waiting For Death.)

Last edited 1 year ago by ARNAUD ALMARIC
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Oh me miseratum!

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Consummatum est.

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

Dangerous, racist claptrap. The shooter at Buffalo also voiced support for your great replacement theory.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Langridge
D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago

I won’t comment on the USA, but this is the UK;
https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/united-kingdom-population
I quote ‘For the fifth year in a row, net migration was a larger contributor to the population change than births and deaths were’
The great replacement is a right-wing conspiracy theory until it has happened, and then it will be fait accompli

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  D Glover

Populations change. So what?

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Langridge
D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago

No political party ever put ‘Change the population’ in their manifesto. So, no-one voted for that policy.
The biggest demographic change in British history had no mandate.

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  D Glover

It’s been a pleasant surprise then

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago

Maybe I should clarify what I meant here. I’m not in favour of uncontrolled immigration, but I see a certain amount of immigration as unavoidable. In the Brexit referendum we rejected free-movement, but immigration (notably from non-EU countries) has not diminished. This was highly predictable because there is a shortage of labour and skill deficits in some areas. Our Brexiteer PM acknowledges this, so I’m interested to know if voters really expect the UK to completely pull up the drawbridge. It seems to me that no amount of immigration would be acceptable to some, and a minority profess a desire to send people ‘home’ who were born here.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Langridge
Mark Turner
Mark Turner
1 year ago

The fact is, there has been too much, there continues to be too much and as stated, the result of this is that by the end of the century, we ( indiginous white people) will have been replaced largely by people from the african and indian subcontinents. Its too late now. If you think that is a good thing then, then OK, you are entitled to your opinion, but many dont. That does not make them racists either, before you trot that one out again…..

Last edited 1 year ago by Mark Turner
Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

The facts don’t bear this out. People assimilate through time, just as Saxons and Normans assimilated, and it is of course racist to identify ‘indigenous white people’ with ‘us’.

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Langridge
Mark Turner
Mark Turner
1 year ago

Um, what facts? Who cares about being called “racist”anymore anyway? It gets trotted out for everything and to such an extent that it has literally lost its meaning….
People assimilate if there are sufficiently low numbers and cultural / religious factors that enable that. If you transplant enough people of a certain culture / religion/ mindset/ demographic somewhere so that they do not have to assimilate, then they wont!
And who do you refer to as “us”? Thats an inclusive term

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  D Glover

Precisely, one of the greatest deceptions in our history, with both Tories and Socialists being almost equally responsible! A curse on both of them!

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  D Glover

This is the greatest invasion since the Norman Conquest in 1066, when a mere 7,000 arrived.

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 year ago

This “conspiracy theory,” is backed up with evidence based on births and projected mass immigration, this information is readily available to anyone that cares to look. Mark Steyn’s 2006 book America Alone is one vital contribution in this area. Your resort to the obtuse epithet of “racist” leads me to reason you have nothing intelligent to say. How can a belief in the self determination of a people be ‘racist’? Whatever that term means from one week to the next. How the hell can you connect my comments with an awful violent attack? Are you smoking crack? You ought to read the various citizenship laws from the world over (see Liberia) and the constitutions of other countries. You will then surely appreciate that peoples’ value ethnicity and do not see any erosion of ethnic homogeneity as insignificant, let alone something to jubilantly tug oneself over, as is the case with the left in the West. I’m not suggesting that Britain adopt a Liberian style citizenship law, I’m affirming that my people should have a state, and a national matrix that is overwhelmingly by and for us. This is the tacit understanding in most places in the world. It is no surprise as recently disclosed information reveals, that the Chinese see Western ethnomasochism as a huge weakness. It most certainly is.

Last edited 1 year ago by Adam McDermont
Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

I’m sorry – erosion of ethnic homogeneity is not something that keeps me up at night.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago

What nonsense, you must be a male hysteric! Bad luck!

Andrew Langridge
Andrew Langridge
1 year ago
Reply to  ARNAUD ALMARIC

Notice I’m not the one resorting to personal abuse here

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago

Some, particularly at the Maudsley would regard that as a compliment.

Aidan Trimble
Aidan Trimble
1 year ago

Apart from the knee jerk vomiting of the R word. Is it such a habit that you no longer realise you’re doing it ,

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Adam McDermont

The Royal family’s support for multiculturalism is not cause to reject them; it is a constitutional democracy, and so elected politicians must take responsibility, as also for mass immigration and ‘diversity’. However, given the situation, the monarchy is extraordinarily successful in uniting these diverse cultures.

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

Does the monarch simply sign every bill that crosses her desk, or does she have agency?
If the former, then she is a rubber stamp in the hand of the PM. Her character and abilities don’t matter at all.
If the latter, if she does take an interest in politics and understands each bill she signs, then she does bear some responsibility for what has happened.

Mark Chadwick
Mark Chadwick
1 year ago

After the Queen dies I’ll become a Republican because she’s the last link to the Britain I knew and loved. Charles, William and Harry have all sold out to the Globalists.

Vivek Rajkhowa
Vivek Rajkhowa
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Chadwick

No they really haven’t

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Chadwick

First, whatever he’s done, Harry is irrelevant. Second, whatever they’ve done, Charles and William remain greatly preferable to almost all politicians, and even a republic must have a head of state. Would your new head of state be any sounder than Charles and William?.

Harry Child
Harry Child
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark Chadwick

So who would you vote to become Head of State? I cannot think of any political person in the UK who I would trust to do the job. The benefit of the Firm is that it can be above politics in a way that no elected person could possibly afford to be. Yes there are too many of them but the senior ones perform a useful function as said before ‘we can damn the government but still respect the Head of State’.

Nicholas Rowe
Nicholas Rowe
1 year ago

If all the flags were coloured blue and yellow, the journalists at the Guardian and the Independent wouldn’t object. Even so, in what these people go into love raptures over, there is a horrible temptation to become as negatively nationalistic as they are.
The Jubilee honours Her Majesty for her personal achievement. That cannot be inherited by any of her successors. A claim that the Jubilee saves the monarchy is very premature, unfortunately.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nicholas Rowe
David Lindsay
David Lindsay
1 year ago

The Platinum Jubilee is here, yet Peter Hitchens writes that, â€œI have just stopped supporting the monarchy. I can’t do it anymore. I am not a republican, or anything silly like that. I would like a proper monarchy. But the House of Windsor’s total mass conversion to Green orthodoxy has destroyed the case for this particular Royal Family. The whole point of the Crown is that it does not take sides in politics.” Yet quite apart from what other political opinions he could possibly have expected West London toffs to hold, the political neutrality of the monarchy is like the impartiality of the BBC. When, exactly, has there ever been any such thing?

The monarchy keeps sweet a lot of people who need to be kept sweet. But I am entirely at a loss as to why it has that effect on them. Either the Queen or her equally revered father has signed off on every nationalisation, every aspect of the Welfare State, every retreat from Empire, every loosening of Commonwealth ties, every social liberalisation, every constitutional change, and every EU treaty. If they could not have done otherwise, then why bother having a monarchy? What is it for? I support public ownership and the Welfare State in principle, even if the practice has often fallen short. The same may be said of decolonisation, as a matter of historical interest. I find some social liberalisations and some constitutional changes a cause for joy, and others a cause for horror. I abhor the EU, and the weakening of the Commonwealth. But this is not about me.

Is it the job of a monarch, if not to acquire territory and subjects, then at least to hold them? If so, then George VI was by far the worst ever British monarch, and quite possibly the worst monarch that the world has ever seen. And is it the job of a British monarch to maintain a Protestant society and culture in the United Kingdom? If so, then no predecessor has ever begun to approach the abject failure of Elizabeth II, a failure so complete that no successor will ever be able to equal it.

For all her undoubted personal piety, I am utterly baffled by the cult of the present Queen among Evangelical Protestants and among those who cleave to a more-or-less 1950s vision of Anglicanism, Presbyterianism or Methodism. What has either the monarchy or the Queen ever done for them? During the present reign, Britain has become history’s most secular country, and the White British have become history’s most secular ethnic group, a trend that has been even more marked among those with Protestant backgrounds than it has been among us Catholics.

This has implications for the Windrush debate, and with eight Commonwealth Realms in or on the Caribbean, a fat lot of good being the Queen’s loyal subject has done anyone there; Barbados, proportionately the most Anglican country in the world, has recently become a republic. It also has implications for aspects of the debate around Brexit. If you wanted to preserve and restore a Christian culture in this country, then you would welcome mass immigration from the Caribbean, from Africa, from Latin America, and from Eastern Europe.

On balance, I would not abolish the monarchy. It would no more be President Hitchens than President Corbyn. It would be a choice between the next Bullingdon Club member in line and someone who had casually given a trifling ÂŁ50,000 to the most recently successful candidate for the Leadership of the Labour Party. No one else would even make it onto the ballot paper, and I would not want either of those as my Head of State.

There would have to be a nomination process. Candidates would certainly require nomination by one tenth of the House of Commons, 65 MPs, and very probably by one fifth of that House, 130 MPs. Even in the first instance, in the wildly unlikely event of more than two candidates, then the House would whittle them down to the two who would then be presented to the electorate. Almost certainly, only two parties are ever going to have 65 MPs. Certainly, only two are ever going to have 130. In practice, they would probably arrange to alternate the Presidency between them.

Nor would I want to abolish the Royal Prerogative. Rather, I want it to be exercised by a Prime Minister who aspired to strengthen families and communities through economic equality and international peace. But the monarchy, and with it the exercise of the Royal Prerogative by persons who most certainly did not share those aspirations, does not depend on the support of people like me. It depends on the support of people who, as long as the monarchy and especially the present Queen were simply there, were prepared to overlook the fact that hardly anything that they really wanted ever happened, while all sorts of things that they did not want did happen, no matter who was in government.

Add to that the fact that the Order of the Garter is entirely in the gift of the monarch. There is no Ministerial involvement. The Queen alone has chosen to confer it on Tony Blair. Moreover, whatever Prince Andrew may or may not have done, he undeniably chose to move in the circles of Jeffrey Epstein, of Robert Maxwell’s daughter, of Peter Mandelson, and of the Clintons. It is the Anglo-American liberal elite, the right wings of the Labour and Democratic Parties, that are the Royal Family’s sort of people, even if they would never stoop to voting for those parties.

Culturally, no one is more Tory than a liberal Tory; politically, no one is more liberal. The people on whose support the monarchy depended have chosen to ignore the fact that that was what their heroes must have been, and openly were. But if Hitchens’s column and the reaction to Blair’s Garter are anything go by, then we are living through the end of all of that.

ARNAUD ALMARIC
ARNAUD ALMARIC
1 year ago
Reply to  David Lindsay

What a refreshing essay to wake up to on Sunday morning.Thank you.

tom j
tom j
1 year ago

There have been eight jubilees since the first, held for George III in October 1809, and the story has always been the same.”
I think it’s 8 in total, including George III’s.
George III 50
Victoria 50 and 60
George V 25
Elizabeth 25, 50, 60 and now 70

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

The Americans celebrate the 4th of July and the French Bastille Day without a Royal Family. The test of the popularity of the Royal Family would be a Jubilee when there is already an annual holiday and celebration of the nation.

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago

The Americans demonstrate the disadvantage of lacking a head of state who is not a political leader as well as an elected leader.

Jacqueline Burns
Jacqueline Burns
1 year ago

At least for the 1977 Silver Jubilee, our own Vtrginia Wade won the Wimbledon Ladies Singles Title!

Brooke Walford
Brooke Walford
1 year ago

Tee hee. Love the last dig at Graniad

Paul Foote
Paul Foote
1 year ago

The only good monarch is a dead monarch and all their family as well. No one deserves to rule over anyone else simply because of their birth. Brits are such dumbasses.

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Foote

Thanks for such an ariticulate and well reasoned argument there……
They dont rule in any real sense of the word, surely you must see that? The people who rule are the idiots that sadly get elected every 4 years. Call us dumbasses? You elected Biden for f*cks sake…..

Adrian Maxwell
Adrian Maxwell
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Foote

Proof socratic debate does exist in the US. I was saying to Uju Ayna, the professor at Carnegie Mellon university, only the other day……. ……………

Chuck Biscuits
Chuck Biscuits
1 year ago

If we’re ever going to really tackle our effect on the environment we’ll need to look at hierarchies and all the needless energy spent projecting the tropes. And then there’s the way it warps human nature, to the point where someone jumps up and down and glee as a chimanzee in a golden carriage, and her massive entourage of mold, wheeze slowly by.

I’m posting from Canada, and it was nice to see that the majority of us did not want to shell out a penny for that dynamic duo of the inane, Harry and Megan, or last week’s ridiculous visit by Charles. Good grief they both looked like fossils. Do their knees even work?