The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee : why this weekend’s festivities matter to the UK

In 2022, Her Majesty The Queen will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee after 70 years of service. Britain’s longest-serving monarch has anchored the royal family’s popularity, but her advancing age raises a specter that the stability she confers could end any time.

Today, Britain will embark on a celebration to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, a record in a royal dynasty that stretches back over a thousand years. Elizabeth II acceded to the throne in February 1952, when her father died. Elizabeth has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonisation of Africa, and the United Kingdom’s accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union. The number of her realms has varied over time as territories have gained independence, and as some realms have become republics.

The four-day platinum jubilee will include all the pomp and ceremony associated with a British royal event. There will be a military parade, street parties, a pop concert outside Buckingham Palace and a religious service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. And it all starts today !

Who to lead the UK after her ?

The 96-year-old Queen has anchored the royal family’s popularity at home and secured respect abroad. However she seems to be eternal -just like her mother before her- she isn’t a super hero and the UK knows that one, time will come to turn the page. So who tho lead the country after her passing away ?

Britons under the age of 70 have never known another ruler. She embodies continuity and a « stable fixture in many people’s lives » said the monarchy’s annual report. Even though there’s no immediate risk for the institution, her heir to the throne, Prince Charles is less popular than his mother. Something worse : some people within the UK think that a Republic should be put in place !

Handling the colonial past

 Last year the Caribbean island of Barbados removed the queen as its head of state. Her grandson Prince William and his wife, Catherine, endured a difficult tour of the Caribbean recently, where the prince expressed “profound sorrow” about slavery but stopped short of an apology for his nation’s role in the slave trade.

More recently, Australia has explained that it may be independent too, because of its geographical position. The UK and more precisely the Commonwealth was a very good thing for Australia, insofar as it ensures it protection and influence. However, nowadays the UK is less influent, especially in front of China, which is becominfg more and more powerful. Australia could be tempted to be closer to the USA, a bigger country that can protect it in case of a Chinese movement. From a French point of view, we have noticed that when Australia prefered buying submarines to the USA rather than ours !

A very important moment

The royal family has been criticised from time to time for 7 decades. Princess Diana’s death remain in every memories in the UK, as well as Prince Andrew’s scandal about allegations that he sexually abused a teenager. The jubilee is also an opportunity for the royals to demonstrate their outward commitment to change and diversity, something the Queen has tried to embody as she travelled the world over the last 70 years, explains Euronews.

Her Majesty the Queen is « head of state » which means she is undertaking a demanding job. It that involves constitutional duties, such as appointing the prime minister and signing off laws, which she continues to personally fulfill. The Queen is also « head of a nation », and for that part of reviewing troops, assisting to reception or opening the parliamentary session, she gives more and more responsibilities to her son, the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne.

Voix d’Europe wishes a very happy Jubilee to her Majesty the Quee ! And of course, God save the Queen !