Putting aside a bitter inflation crisis and doubts about the future of the monarchy, the British on Wednesday prepared for a four-day celebration marking the record-breaking 70th anniversary of the enthronement of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Platinum Jubilee gives a brief break from the price hikes not seen since the 1970s, where accounts of people fighting to pay a spiral bill are placed on the dining table every day.
With two public holidays from Thursday and then the weekend, pubs, restaurants and retailers are expecting timely sales growth, after a tough time with the Covid epidemic.
The British Beer and Pub Association said: “As the sun sets over four days, we will see pub gardens where people are toasting His Majesty the Queen and showing their support for two great British organizations.”
Britain has thousands of fewer pubs than when the Queen ascended the throne in the post-war depression of 1952.
And support for the monarchy is an open question as the increasingly weak, 96-year-old king moves away from the scene.
As Prince Charles assumes his mother’s role in the state ceremony, there is an idea that the first – and perhaps the last – platinum jubilee in British history has turned the page.
A poll for The Sun this week gave the Queen a 91.7-percent approval rating. But Charles is only 7.5 percent, behind his son Prince William, 7.4 percent.
Unlike the vocalist Charles, the Queen has rarely expressed an opinion in public and her mere longevity means she is committed to the life of almost every British person alive.
He has survived numerous family traumas, including Charles’s public separation from Princess Diana and the anguish of his personal heart, when his wife Prince Philip died last year at the age of 99, modernizing the monarchy along the way.
He reportedly endured a turbulent flight back to London from a short break at his Scottish estate Balmoral.
According to The Sun newspaper, the thunderstorm forced his private jet to cancel its landing on Tuesday, before making a second successful attempt.
Meanwhile, royal enthusiasts from far and wide are camping at The Mall, towards Buckingham Palace, despite heavy rains.
“The last 24 hours have been terrible. We’ve had rain, hail, thunderstorms, thunderstorms,” Mary-Jane Willos, 8, of Cornwall in southwestern England, told AFP.
“When that royal coronation coach, past that golden coach, is the only way to make sure you’re in the midst of obstacles … that would be the most magical moment.”
The celebrations began with Trooping the Color, a military parade that officially marked the birthday of the British monarch for many centuries.
The fly-past will include Spitfire, the iconic fighter plane that helped Britain win the war in 1940 and resist Nazi Germany.
The Queen and members of the royal family are expected to watch the aerial display from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The verandah numbers were limited to “working royal families”, with no place for self-exiled grandson Prince Harry and his American wife Megan – who landed in Britain on Wednesday – or Elizabeth’s humiliated second son, Prince Andrew.
Angie Hart, 51, who built a camping spot at The Mall with her husband and two daughters, traveled from Canada.
“It was always something I wanted to do,” he told AFP. “I have a real respect for the Queen.”
Throughout the four days of the festival, patriotic nostalgia continues in red, white and blue, with Ed Sheeran singing “God Save the Queen” in front of Buckingham Palace on Sunday.
Participants in a huge public parade through central London on Sunday will get to know anyone familiar with British popular culture since 1952.
But the Bollywood dancer and a Caribbean carnival will since then reflect the changes in British society, which was predominantly white and Christian, which is multicultural and multi-faith.
The British Empire has paved the way for a Commonwealth of Nations – 14 of which still have the Queen as their Heads of State, including Australia and Canada.
But recent royal visits to the Caribbean have taken the status of the British monarchy further and created growing tensions.
“This queen has become a significant glue in that Commonwealth,” said Michael Cox, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at LSE.
“What, how successfully, Charles is going to play the same role, I don’t know,” he said.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)