What’s This Diamond Jubilee All About Then?

They couldn’t have timed it better if they’d tried. After last year’s Royal-fest with the wedding ‘n’ all that, now we have the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to keep our minds on all things monarchy. 2012 marks sixty years on the throne for HRH Queen Elizabeth II. Not only do we get an extra bank holiday to celebrate, but there are tours and celebrations throughout the spring/summer to mark the occasion. The various events have been planned to include everyone, for all locations and tastes.

Why Should We Care?

Everyone has an opinion on the monarchy. I don’t really know enough about politics to make an informed judgement about whether it is good or bad for society. But I am fond of the Royal Family – they are inherent to our history and they make our country stand out. Lots of countries have Royal Families, but few are such objects of worldwide interest. Why the worldwide interest, though? I mean, I do notice the date on the 4th of July, but I don’t really mark the occasion. We used to celebrate Bastille Day at school, but probably only so they’d keep our attention in French class. The Jubilee is interesting for lots of reasons. Here are some I prepared earlier*.

One: Sixty years! Sixty! That’s, like, longer than the rest of us have a career. The Queen just had one job. Being the Queen. And it’s still not over, she can’t exactly retire like the rest of us and spend the next decade knitting and gardening full-time.

Two: We’re all kinda wondering what’s going to happen next. Will Prince Charles actually reign? Well, yes, of course he will (it’s inevitable no matter how much we all want to see William as King and Kate as Queen ASAP), but not for anything like as long as his mother. Which means most of us won’t see another Diamond Jubilee, and may also get to experience more than one coronation in our adult lifetimes. Which, if for no other reason, may mean more days off work.

Three: We get another day off work.

Four: We get to see some pretty cool pageants, processions, concerts and other expressions of our British-ness…even if just on TV. Here are some of the main events put on for us this year in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee.

Jubilee Event Dates For Your Diary

March – July – the Queen is touring the UK with a series of visits to as many regions as she can. Alas, she is not coming to Brighton.

10th – 13th May – the Diamond Jubilee Pageant. This takes place at Windsor Castle and includes dance; music; and military and equestrian displays.

3rd June 2012 (Sunday) – The Big Jubilee Lunch and the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant
Building on past celebrations and the Big Lunch initiative, those wanting to celebrate the Jubilee are invited to share their lunch with family and friends – whether as a picnic, street party, or indoor occasion. My friends and I already have plans to get involved – I hope Anglophiles all over the world will do too! While we’re at it, we’ll stick on the TV and have a look at what’s going on on the Thames – namely a flotilla of boats from Commonwealth countries all around the world.

4th June 2012 (Monday) – BBC Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace
Gary ‘Take That’ Barlow is bring together legends such as Elton John, Paul McCartney, Annie Lennox and Tom Jones and current favourites like JLS and Ed Sheeran for an event hoped to appeal to everybody. Like the other events I’ve mentioned, it will be televised in the UK, and I hope those of you in the USA and around the world can see some of it too!

5th June 2012 (Tuesday) – extra bank holiday. We don’t get all that many bank holidays here in the UK so an extra one is very much appreciated, thank you very much. There’s also a service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by formal procession by the Queen in her carriage.

So, there we go. I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Diamond Jubilee schedule – some events more than others. As I said above and in my How To Be British column, I am not sure how most people feel about the Royal Family these days. But they are our Royal Family and they are one of the things that make our lovely country special. So let’s celebrate.

*A very British phrase if ever there was one.