I don’t care how much the Queen’s Jubilee cost: I was proud to be British

The Royal Barge Spirit of Chartwell on the Thames. Photo: Richard Lewis/Commonwealth Secretariat/Flickr
I find it hard to believe that over the Jubilee period even the anti-monarchists amongst us didn’t switch on the television to get a glimpse of the festivities. From the river pageant to the concert, the Queen’s diamond jubilee has been a phenomenal show. The volumes of people that poured onto London’s streets to catch a peek of the Queen showed the heart-warming patriotism of not only our country, but also countries all around the commonwealth and the world.

With street parties going on up and down the country, even the miserable weather couldn’t dampen the English spirit. A staggering one million people turned out for the climax of the celebrations on Tuesday to watch the flyover. The royal haters out there might say that all this extravagance cost the UK taxpayer a lot of money. However, it is thought that the Jubilee celebrations brought in roughly one billion pounds to the UK economy.

The Queen was on top form all weekend. Her ability to stand on a boat for over three hours straight, at the ripe old age of 86 I might add, shows sheer dedication to her nation! She spent the weekend beaming and grinning with genuine joy, and whilst the excuse for music from the likes of Cheryl Cole might not have been to her taste, she looked genuinely moved by the hoards of people who turned out to see her.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend was probably the atrocious coverage from the BBC. Whilst it improved greatly on Monday and Tuesday, the coverage of the river pageant on Sunday just screamed of a desperate attempt to shove every celebrity under the sun onto our TV screens, and it was dire. Celebrity after celebrity, their reports seemed unprepared, were unprofessional, and lowered the tone of what was a fantastic display of Britain’s nautical accomplishments.

But commentary excluded, the pageant was a roaring success. The sheer volume of boats that took over the Thames was quite stunning, and the crowds had successfully managed to line every inch of paving, grass and balcony along the river. The concert, too, was an overall hit: There was a wide lineup with acts that spanned the Queen’s entire rule, and offered a little something for everyone. The whole thing went down with only minor technical difficulties and a very awkward shuffle offstage by Will.I.Am after his performance with Stevie Wonder.

Considering Kylie’s lack of singing ability she managed to thrust and wiggle her way through one of the longest set lists of the night. And whilst she wasn’t particularly awful, I think the world over would agree that one song would have been more than enough. At least the last day of celebrations bought with it a stellar performance from the children’s choir at St Paul’s Cathedral, a brilliant display from the Red Arrows, and a hip-hip hooray from people all over London in honour of HRH.

Perhaps the saddest part of the Jubilee celebrations was Prince Phillip’s absence after the river pageant. I think the Queen and the nation as a whole were moved by Charles’ speech after the concert on Monday night. Nevertheless, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was, overall, a triumph. I don’t care how much it cost, how over the top it seemed, or how wealthy the royal family are. For the first time in a long time, I was very proud to be British.


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