The Queen will be addressing Parliament on March 20th as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations. She’ll be speaking to assembled peers and MPs in Westminster Hall, which is a great, gloomy gothic place. Obama addressed MPs there a few years ago, and Mandela has. And according to the BBC the Queen did in 1977 and 2002 for her Silver and Golden Jubilees. It’s also used for lying in state, eg the Queen Mother a few years ago. It’s my favourite part of the Palace.
I was 12 at the time of the Silver Jubilee and it seemed like a really big deal. Lots of street parties. Lots of stuff at school. People wearing clothes made out of union jack teatowels. God Save the Queen in the charts and the Sex Pistols doing their boat trip down the Thames. By contrast I can’t remember anything about the Golden Jubilee at all. I’ve just asked Twitter and “Brian May* on the roof of Buckingham Palace” seems to be the only image that has stuck in people’s minds. Someone else has asked if it was when Walkers did ‘coronation chicken’ crisps. And someone has said “Silver = Sex Pistols. Golden = Country Life butter ads”.
A quick Google search almost immediately came up with the parish newsletter of the splendidly-named Stogumber, which seemed to celebrate the Golden Jubilee in style with a “Street Party in Sawpits Close and a Pig Roast and Barn Dance at the Cricket Club, where Stogumber’s beacon was also lit.” I was going to say it sounds like Jacob Rees-Mogg’s idea of exactly what England should be like, and then discovered it’s in West Somerset, so not far at all from Mogg country.
Anyway… it’s now 2012. How should we/ should we mark the Diamond Jubilee? Should we be hoisting musicians once more onto the rooftops? Should we be whizzing down the Thames in a motor boat playing punk rock to the punters in Parliament? Should we be roasting pigs and partying in the streets under the Union Jack bunting? Should we be buying the Queen a £60 million yacht?**
*Brian May is a big friend of the badgers. I’m hoping to meet him soon. He’s totally against the cull.
** There was a whip-round amongst MPs and peers last year to fund an £80,000 stained glass window in Westminster Hall to mark the occasion. It’s not a very nice design. I don’t know if it will be in place in time for the Queen’s Speech***.
*** (Footnotes on blogs – is this a new thing?) When I say “Queen’s Speech” I don’t mean THE Queen’s Speech. The Government still refuses to tell us when that’s going to be. Probably not till May.