From Our Readers The Royal Jubilee and all the Jubilations From Our Readers

Having been born, bred and buttered in the United Kingdom, I am classed as a subject of Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth. But I have a slight problem: I don’t wanna be!

Don’t get me wrong, I have the utmost respect for both the Queen and the rest of her family. I have a not-so-secret girl-crush on Kate Middleton (I mean, how can someone always look perfect and lovely and not-even-slightly-slutty-but-still-a-complete-babe ALL THE TIME? Like, she’s supposed to be a commoner! Ain’t nuthin common ‘bout them cheek bones!). Harry too seems like such an awful lot of craic. Plus, his eyes are rather dreamy. And that roguish grin? Hubba-hubba! I also think the Queen herself is an absolute lady – she’s adorable! She reminds me of my own granny. In fact, when watching the televised concert in her honour I felt sorry for the poor wee love. Yeah, I’m sure my granny would love to sit outside in the cold until midnight watching a load of acts that she probably doesn’t even like. NAT! I’m, pretty sure most people in their later years would rather celebrate any milestones with a small family gathering with their feet up watching the soaps. Not only that, she was up again the next morning to attend yet another engagement- at 86 years of age! Not only was she there, she was bright eyed and bushy-tailed. She is the consummate professional.

However, this does not negate the fact that I believe the profession she excels at is utterly redundant in 2012.

It simply does not make sense. In a country with such high levels of poverty, unemployment and social immobility, such a lavish lifestyle is, in my opinion, obscene. Especially when you’re job description essentially entails ‘going to things’: going to garden parties, to galas, to concerts, to visit people, going around the world on a jet plane. I know that the weekend’s celebrations were only in part to commemorate the sixty years of service the Queen has given to her country. It is also a way of celebrating Britain and our great and glorious past. Yet, I honestly believe that such money and effort would have been better spent in an effort to try and improve our chances of a great and glorious future. In many ways, I feel the celebrations have been a way for the Government to deflect attention from the fact that they are failing the common people; stick a few union flags up and bake some apple crumble and let’s remember why Britain is great.

“Oh, you’ve been made redundant and have been evicted from your house as a result to the excessive cuts to public services? No matter! Here’s a bakewell tart. It’ll cheer you right up!”

I’m not alone in my thinking – far from it. According to recent polls, anything from 22%-50% of Britons identify as being anti-monarchist. Indeed, in England, Scotland and Wales, many people have spoken out about the monarchy.

I, however, am not allowed to.

You see, I am an Irish Catholic from Northern Ireland. Therefore, any grumblings or misgivings I have about the monarchy take on a much more nefarious shade. At best, my views are dismissed as those of a typical Irish Nationalist malcontent- those Catholics, up to no good – as usual!- and at worst as the beliefs and views of a terrorist.

I see no place for the Queen in modern society and, therefore, in the minds of some, I must surely condone any recent dissident activity or murder perpetrated by republican groups. I’ve been shocked by how many opinions I’ve seen on facebook that subscribe to the belief that if anyone here in Northern Ireland is not participating in the jolly spectacle that is the Queen’s Jubilee – or, woe betide, vocally opposing the festivities!- is ‘sectarian’ or a ‘bigot’. In fact, I’ve seen a small number of statuses over the last few days that are out-and-out offensive rants about how “Catholics are pathetic and can’t let us enjoy our celebrations. I’m just so proud to be British”. To anyone culpable of these extreme views I bit my tongue and forced myself to refrain from pointing out that, being from Northern Ireland, you’re actually not British; you’re a citizen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (DUH!) and grudgingly pulled the little arrow away from the ‘unfriend’ button.

I am not a bigot. I am painfully aware that this sounds very similar to those people who state “I am not a racist but…” and then continue on to state something terribly racist. However, I refuse to let my informed opinions about politics and society be undermined by someone else’s misguided view that they stem wholly from my religion and community background. It’s just so….irritating!

“I may not agree with what you say, sir, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – Voltaire

I came so close to unfriending a lot of people this weekend (who, let’s face it, weren’t great friends) but stopped myself as they’re the people that entertain me with hilarious statuses such as “Well, I thought someone was my friend but she’s clearly just a backstabbing whore, boyfriend stealer” and I simply can’t give them up. Only joking! The main reason I didn’t click the unsubscribe button was because everyone is entitled to their own opinion: no matter how misguided or founded on ignorance it happens to be. If I want people to listen to my views and take them seriously for what they are and not view them as a mere symptom of my upbringing, I simply have to do the same for others. One can disagree without being disagreeable.

Plus, I would really miss those emotional melt-down statuses.

by Lucy Williams

Feature image via.

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  1. Gosh that was long! Didn’t realise, sorry XD

  2. Hmm… I get what you mean about spending money on one privileged family when everyone else is struggling but I think it’s easy to underestimate the value of the royal family to the UK. I mean, they are our ambassadors to the world! Who else have we got, Nick Clegg? I already hate the way the UK can be perceived as a country full of wealthy, deceptive politicians and I think perhaps the Queen helps to combat that a little and I’d miss her if she went (though I’m not so sure about whether I’d still lean towards being a monarchist when Charles comes in- he doesn’t appear to be as well-liked or sensible as the Queen). Kate and William give us a human element too, I think. They also help attract tourism to our country. It’s been said before but so many people come to London to see Buckingham Palace and do all the touristy stuff involved. Think about the last time you went to London- how far did you get before you practically walked into stalls and shops packed full of Queen bobbleheads, Kate Middleton face masks and Buckingham Palace snowglobes? I know these kinds of souvenirs are pretty tacky and vulgar but stuff like that helps to drive the economy in London! I also don’t envy the royal family at all. To be held up to such high standards under public scrutiny, to have your spending monitored and criticised, to lack the true freedom to be able to do what you want and follow the career you choose (because, let’s face it, even if the Queen wanted to she could have never become an architect or a physicist). So all that wealth does come at the cost of their freedom, to some extent. I mean, the Queen can’t even chill out on her birthday! I know that when mine comes around I like to just lie on the sofa, not think about revision and just start watching back-to-back episodes of my favourite TV show. She has to give speeches and make appearances, that’s the last thing I’d want to do! I heard from somewhere that the Royal Family cost each person about 10p per year to keep going. I would happily pay that for the service they do for us, though I think perhaps we should be curbing the money spent on members of the extended family ie Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice etc ‘cos I can’t see their purpose, to be honest. PS Sorry to hear about the abuse you’ve been getting because of your opinion, no-one should be criticised for a perfectly legitimate take on the matter (and how your taxes are being spent!)

    • Oh, I totally know what you mean! And I certainly think that Kate and Wills will certainly shake things up a bit (I do love them…). I also did genuinely feel sorry for the Queen. The concert on Sunday was definately more of an ego trip for Gary Barlow than any genuine cumpulsion to give the Queen a bday she’d enjoy! Also, I don’t want to make out like people have openly giving me abuse! I just think certain people have been a little extreme and unthinking in voiving their opinion. I think that I was hoping the article would be more a comment on how irritating it is when people dismiss your opinions on your background and I’m sure it’s equally annoying the other way! For the record, my family pure love the Royals!lol

  3. Great article, I agree with all that you’ve said. The extra bank holiday was nice but the amount of cash spent on the Jubilee is ridiculous. I’d love to know what the royals actually do all day.

  4. Well said. I was trying to make these points over the Jubilee weekend but wasn’t getting any further than “IT’S JUST NOT FAIR!!!”

  5. I had a fantastic time at the Jubilee weekend came up to London from Cornwall and really got into the spirit of things, it might have rained as is usual on a bank holiday weekend in the UK but us Brits are made of sterner stuff a bit of rain wasn’t going to have us running for cover, as well as the Brits there were lots of tourists enjoying the atmosphere. It’s a weekend I will not forget for a long time such a great feeling and was lucky enough to get ballot tickets for the Royal Picnic and Jubilee Concert! Having a picnic in Buckingham Palace gardens and then watching the concert and being able to see the Royal family in the Royal box was amazing, I think in these depressing times everyone needs a bit a bit of cheering up even the newspapers perked up for a bit, they are back to the depressing news now but I’m still buzzing and will be for months to come and most people I know loved this weekend and had a great time either going up to London or having street parties at home.

    • So glad you enjoyed it, Samantha! A number of my friends went over and loved it (in fact, are staying over to party some more!) If the celebrations cheered some people up then great! Don’t wanna be a kill-the-craic at all but it’s just not something I felt like ‘celebrating’ and I reserve my right to grumble!lol (The tea parties looked cool though…) :)