Jubilee Britain: The Queen Celebrates Her Coronation
For one elderly couple this year is very special: Elizabeth and Philip Windsor, aged 86 and 91 have spent the last week celebrating the Diamond Jubilee (60 years since she became Queen). There is nothing unusual with this as many people in Britain have been doing the same. However, they have been firmly at the centre of events as Elizabeth Windsor has been Queen of Great Britain for the last sixty years. After Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth II has spent the longest time in power of any King or Queen in British history.
The celebrations have certainly been very British: non-stop television programmes about the Royal Family, lots of flags everywhere, and most importantly lots of street parties. This popular tradition is where streets or even entire communities create giant tables in the road to allow as many people as possible to share food and drink. One part of London broke all records by creating a table with 3,700 seats for the Jubilee. Not even the weather turning from glorious sunshine to days of grey sky and rain could prevent the celebrations.
Following a custom which is hundreds of years old one thousand boats, including a gold coloured vessel for the Royal family, sailed down the River Thames through the centre of London. Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip did an impressive amount of hand waving as different boats passed them, each looking about ten years younger than they are. It was a sight which one million people went to watch, with many more millions watching it on the television.
After over an hour the rain was so bad that the finale of an air display had to be cancelled and half of the participants looked like they were developing hypothermia. Even this was seen as being authentically British, with choirs enthusiastically singing on the Thames in the pouring rain.
Personal highlights have included a local street party by a lake where they decorated small boats and recreated the Thames scene closer to home, complete with a man dressed up as the Queen. Another was watching three enormous cruise ships, the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Anne and the Queen Victoria lit up for the Jubilee and leaving Southampton docks at the same time.
Not everyone in Britain likes the monarchy, but the Jubilee has still been an experience. After four days of parties, concerts and spectacles Britain has finally put away the Union Jack flags and can now relax. Or at least until the Olympics Games begin in London this summer that is.