The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations really kicked off at Windsor Castle today with a pageant involving over 2,500 soldiers, sailors and airmen and airwomen. In addition to all the service personnel, an estimated 20,000 members of the public lined the streets of Windsor to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne.
The musical celebration was led by six military bands and began with an RAF flypast involving nine Typhoon jets in a diamond formation (below). It culminated at a specially built arena in the grounds of the royal estate (above).
This country is the best in the world at pageantry and pomp. The armed forces tribute today was truly impressive and very stirring. I’ve always been very patriotic but I think any British citizen watching today’s spectacle would have been extremely proud to be British.
Today’s celebrations come after a new poll by Ipsos MORI shows that support for the monarchy is at a 20-year high. Only 13% of the population are in favour of living in a republic while in 2005 this figure was almost twice as high. Before the Royal Wedding last year 75% of those surveyed supported the monarchy but a combination of the “Kate effect” and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations has pushed this figure up to 80%. Support for the Queen is highest amongst the over 55s, with 88% being in favour. However, even in the 18-24 age group 73% want to remain subjects of the Queen. Ipsos MORI believe that the increased coverage of the Royal Family over the past year has significantly contributed to this surge in their popularity.
Although the Jubilee celebrations officially started in March with the commencement of a UK tour by the Queen which will continue until the end of July, today saw the start of the major events. I’m terribly excited about the Diamond Jubilee weekend in a couple of weeks’ time, particularly as my birthday falls on a Bank Holiday. The Queen will be coming my local area on Saturday 2nd June when she attends the Epsom Derby and I’m hoping to get to the Thames on Sunday 3rd to see the flotilla. I was disappointed not to get tickets to the Jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace on the Monday, organised by the lovely Gary Barlow but I’ll be having my own celebrations at home instead.
I think it’s extraordinary that our Queen is the second longest-reigning monarch in British history, second only to Queen Victoria who managed 63 years and 216 days. I’m almost certain that in 3 and a half years’ time Queen Elizabeth II will become this country’s longest-serving monarch.
God Save the Queen!