Platinum Jubilee: what has the Queen done for the British?

For four days, the British celebrated their queen: Elizabeth II (now 96) was unable to attend many of the festivities celebrating the 70th anniversary of her reign due to personal complaints, but she rewarded hundreds of thousands of fans on Sunday when she appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. The press is not quite as unanimous in its enthusiasm for the monarchy as an institution.

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La Vanguardia (ES) /

A dangerous cocktail

For La Vanguardia the UK has nothing at all to celebrate:

“The IMF warns that the UK will have the weakest growth and highest inflation of all the main advanced economies this year. ... Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson's troubled government, at its lowest point since his election, reflects the trajectory of an economy that seems to have lost its way. ... The pandemic, Ukraine, Johnson and Brexit. A cocktail that amounts to a perfect storm for the British economy, even if no one in the UK is yet willing - out of national pride, in the midst of the royal jubilee - to acknowledge the impact of the fourth factor yet.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

The monarchy remains the most important institution

The Queen's greatest achievement is that she is no less loved today than she was over 70 years ago, Dnevnik comments:

“During her 70-year reign the Queen has adapted to countless changes. Nevertheless, decade after decade she has always managed to personify the French proverb 'The more things change, the more they remain the same'. The royal family remains a hyper-privileged legacy of feudalism, and the monarchy remains a key institution that unites the British more than any other. Particularly because over the past two decades other key institutions - from the media and the police to Parliament and, under Boris Johnson, 10 Downing Street - have disgraced themselves one after another.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Celebrate while you can

This could be the last celebration of this kind for this extraordinary queen, the Tages-Anzeiger writes:

“The fact that she is being shown so much affection and personal recognition now that her powers are visibly waning is not least due to her own achievements. Many of those who are now celebrating her are concerned that her era will be followed by a much more difficult time for the monarchy and its supporters. ... The Queen's popularity is clearly higher than that of the institution she represents. The royalists, who fear for their Queen, would rather not talk about that. They will celebrate as long as they can.”

The Daily Telegraph (GB) /

Elizabeth has strengthened the monarchy

The Queen has united the people, writes The Daily Telegraph:

“People need events such as these to feel a sense of belonging beyond our immediate family, neighbourhood or region. To manifest itself through the Queen, rather than a nebulous concept of nationhood, makes it more personal - a relationship that is never possible between citizens and an elected politician. ... Her reign has seen so many changes in society, especially the decline of deference towards authority and scorn for the emblems of power. Yet this has not diminished the country's belief in the merits of monarchy. Quite the contrary: it has remained, thanks largely to Her Majesty's efforts, the indisputable focus of our national community.”

The Guardian (GB) /

The infantilising impact of the monarchy

Respect for the Queen should not be confused with approval of the monarchy, The Guardian admonishes:

“There is no doubt about the public's admiration and affection for the Queen. She remains a firm emblem of pomp, while at the same time the nation's dignity is being damaged by the current prime minister. She has skilfully guided her unpredictable family 'company' through 70 years of change and turbulence. ... Enjoy the pomp and spectacle today, but don't forget the infantilising impact it has on Britain's political psyche when babies are born to rule.”

The Irish Times (IE) /

Ambassador of peace

Queen Elizabeth's visit in 2011 was the culmination of her decades-long efforts towards reconciliation in Ireland, The Irish Times recalls:

“As the British people celebrate the extraordinary 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth this weekend it is worth acknowledging that the royal family has played a positive role in helping to bring peace to this island and improving relations between the people of the two countries. The queen's approach stands in stark contrast to the behaviour of her first minister, Boris Johnson, and some of his colleagues, who not only appear indifferent to the impact their policies have on Ireland, north or south, but actually go out of their way to foment dissent in pursuit of their own political ends.”