Anyhoo, I hope Lizzy II had a jolly good time. It was a pretty decent shindig by the looks of it, even if it ended up costing us, taxpayers, £1.4bn according to Simon Jenkins in The Guardian, half of which came from lost production because of the long weekend bank holiday.
What I've seen in Britain so far is a love-hate relationship with the Queen. It's hard to fathom that the amount of people who turned up for the Jubilee concert on Monday (10,000 balloted ticket-holders inside Buckingham Palace, plus a further 250,000 in the park outsidet) was roughly the same number who marched against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. So, one could say that the country dances to the tune of "Not In My Name" on the one hand and Cliff Richards on the other.
To say that opinions were divided on the matter of the royal hootenanny is the understatement of the century. But to say that the rift was obvious is going a tad bit too far. Probably the most conspicuous opposition came from BBC4 which broadcast the first installment of its three-part series "Punk Britannia" the day before the pageant. Yet, even that was somewhat toned down by the fact they omitted The Sex Pistols' anthemic God Save the Queen (God save the queen/She ain't no human being/There is no future/In England's dreaming). Maybe Prince Charles called Auntie to tell them to treat Mummy well.
Apparently it's a good time to be a royal right now. Their PR machine has been gaining ground ever since that "small business" with Diana made Elizabeth II seem a little out of touch with her subjects. To neutrals, this whole aristocratic revival and the various reactions to it, is like mana from heaven. It provides an invaluable update on current British attitudes towards the monarch and her progeny.
Of course, I'm talking from a London-centric point of view. I doubt the denizens of Wales share the same impartial opinion. For starters the Union Jack, created in 1606, includes Scotland and Northern Ireland, but no Wales, as the latter had already been part of England since 1282. Never mind, my dear Cymru chums, there's no dragon in the Cuban flag, either, and we share the same colours with the Union Jack. Plus, we were a British colony for eleven months back in 1762. And you know what? I don't harbour any hard feelings towards her majesty. Here, dear, have another jubilee-themed cupcake.
Going back to the PR machine that's put he royal family centre stage again, I think that they've pulled it off. Talking to older British people, I get the impression that it's a new type of monarchy that's coming to the fore. Prince Charles turns up to read the weather with his wife in tow. Last year his elder son, William, married his longstanding girlfriend, Kate Middleton, someone who would have been considered a "commoner" years ago and no one bat an eyelid. In fact, we, taxpayers, paid for their lavish wedding. And I didn't get an invite. Maybe, the Welsh have a point. Prince Harry goes from a swastika-wearing 20-year-old to a faux-Jamaican-patois-speaking Usain Bolt admirer. Whatever Clarence House is doing, it is hitting the target right in the middle. In austerity-ridden Britain, people came out on the streets in their thousands, if not in their hundreds of thousands, to celebrate the sixty years on the throne of a woman whose husband, Prince Phillip, once asked the black politician Lord Taylor of Warwick: "And what exotic part of the world do you come from?" And yet, there was more concern for the poor, old codger's bladder last weekend than for the 30 upaid jobseekers left stranded under London Bridge before the river pageant on Sunday.
How to interpret the reactions to the queen's jubilee? I don't know. That's my honest answer. The majority of people I've spoken to, seem to be quite blasé about it. In fact they go as far as saying that it's better to have a queen who doesn't seek publicity (she doesn't give interviews) than politicians who whore themselves out in public in an attempt to seem "normal". I have to admit that these people have a point. Standing alone, sans husband on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Tuesday (her consort was rushed to hospital on Sunday), Lizzy II's grin cried out "The Loneliness of the Long-Reigning Monarch". And yet, she soldiered on.