The Platinum Jubilee in small towns and villages
June 2nd 2022.
An Italian republican woman on the Italian Republic Day was ready to witness the celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee in the North West of England.
Before and during the 4 days of national holidays and celebrations (2 - 5 June 2022) I could see how the British felt about the Jubilee.
As a person who hasn’t grown up here, the point of view from which I witnessed the whole thing is different from someone who has been living here almost all of their life.
Before I continue with my own observations and photos, I want it to be clear that I'm not going to say whether the Queen has reigned well or not. I am not an historian, nor an expert on Royal Family matters, actually, as I have already said, I am a convinced republican.
What I wish to share with you is what I perceived during those days in terms of feelings.
I spoke to many people with differing social backgrounds, age and heritage, as well as those living in different geographical areas - Welsh, English, Scottish, those with Indian origins, young and elderly. More or less they all expressed admiration for the Queen, her loyalty to the state, her devotion to service, her strength and how well she represented them abroad as a nation.
I also perceived it from the general atmosphere I could feel in the streets: before and during the 4 days of the Jubilee I was wandering around both big and small towns noticing all the colourful bunting, Union Jack flags and photos of the Queen hanging in windows of shops, offices, houses and churches.
From the beginning it was clear to me that this was all for her, not for the Royal Family or for the Monarchy, but a tribute to her, and her alone.
I doubt there will be such a massive popular demonstration of affection for Prince Charles when he’ll be king. Elizabeth II, like it or not, set a record: a 70 year reign. No other British monarch reached this goal. Only the French king, Louis XIV, “le roi soleil”, reached the 72th anniversary of his reign.
Is the Queen going to stay on her throne and surpass him?
Some British people told me they don’t think so, while others do.
I was in Glasgow mid-May and I found it interesting to see the difference between England - where there were already some Union Jack and Platinum Jubilee bunting and people were busy organising street parties and other events - while in Glasgow I literally saw nothing like that. Some Glaswegians confirmed that the population feel the spirit of the celebrations less than in the rest of the country.
On May 15th, 2 weeks before the Jubilee, the Guardian published the latest poll that reveals Scottish support for the monarchy falling to 45%.
“Fewer than half of people in Scotland say they support retaining the monarchy.
Almost six in 10 people across Britain want to retain the monarchy for the foreseeable future, with only a quarter saying that the end of the Queen’s reign would be an appropriate time for Britain to become a republic. The overwhelming majority, some 85%, expect that Britain will still have a monarchy in a decade’s time.
However the poll, by the British Future thinktank, found that only 45% in Scotland said they wanted to retain the monarchy – with 36% saying the end of the Queen’s reign would be the right moment to move to a republic.”
The Republican movement launched a campaign whose slogan is very clear: Elizabeth the last. Abolish the monarchy.
I agree with that, but I don’t think it will happen with the end of her reign.
When that happens, it will be another milestone, like the 70 year reign of Her Majesty, not just in British history, but the world's too.
Some media reported that taxpayers questioned how much the Jubilee cost.
Others criticised the massive display of Union Jack flags, as many associate it with historic racism.
Social media made jokes about the absence of Prince Andrew - who lost his royal and military titles earlier this year after being accused of sexual assault - who pulled out of attending the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations after contracting COVID on Thursday.
“The definition of convenience: Prince Andrew testing positive for Covid and having to miss the whole Jubilee weekend celebrations.” someone twitted.
I enjoyed the joyful and colourful preparation and celebration of the Jubilee in towns and villages on the Wirral (North West of England). I want to share my photos with you to show the spontaneous and generous effort many people made to pay homage to their head of state.
“I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”
Princess Elizabeth on her 21st birthday, 21st April 1947
POST BOX TOPPERS
(Post box toppers is a form of art that was born during the lockdowns in the UK. They are knitted or crocheted decorations that are fixed to the top of Royal Mail post boxes).
(Churches, supermarkets, shops, pubs, street markets, roads)
(Please note: if you want to use my photos for non-commercial use, feel free to do so. I kindly ask that you quote my name and website.
If you want to use them for commercial purposes, then please contact me.)