Queen's celebrations make Britain smile again | Posted on 7 June 2012
LONDON (June 6, 2012): The enthusiasm which greeted Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee celebrations highlights the irreplaceable role that the monarchy plays in uniting British society, the country's press said Wednesday.
Millions of patriotic Britons attended various events during the four-day festivities, providing the country with a much-needed boost as economic storm clouds linger, newspapers said.
Wednesday's papers ran with front-page headlines quoting the 86-year-old monarch's special television message, in which she said the jubilee had been a "humbling experience" that had left her with "memories to treasure forever."
However, the centre-right Daily Telegraph insisted it was the British people who should be humble.
"The queen has sacrificed herself for this nation, uncomplainingly, for year upon year," said its editorial.
"It is only fitting that she should know how much that has meant to her people, and that we have had the chance to offer her our thanks -- and our love," it added.
"Four days that made us feel great about Britain," ran popular tabloid The Sun as one of its headlines.
In its editorial, the publication said the celebrations had left the country "a brighter, happier, more confident place."
"Would we really want to scrap such history and heritage for a head-of-state who is an ex-politician or civil-servant? Maybe when it's pigs -- not Spitfires -- flying over Buckingham Palace."
The Times' leading article argued that critics who said the country should not be indulging a non-elected leader were missing the point.
"With the help of the monarchy we have kept a strong, tangible sense of our history," it said. "It is true that we did not vote for her. It is also true that she represents the whole country in a way she never could if we had.
"It is easy to assemble a purely rational argument against an hereditary monarchy.
"It would be far harder to replace it with anything that answered so successfully our yearning to belong, while impinging so little on our need to be heard," it concluded.
Of the mainstream titles, the left-leaning Guardian has been the most critical of the weekend's extravagances and carried low-key coverage in Wednesday's edition, with no editorial comment on the event.
But columnist Simon Jenkins, who previously wrote for the centre-right Times, commented that it had been a "jubilee of bread and circuses... but the country needed it.
"All peoples have their national days... all crave their collective rituals," added Jenkins.
"The ceremonies were a good news relief from horror, tragedy and recession. The enjoyment is real. From time to time, there is no harm in sensing communion with one's country."
The monarch on Tuesday brought the official public celebrations to a close when she greeted 1.5 million cheering subjects from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
The Daily Mail, Telegraph and Times all noted the significance of the scaled-down balcony appearance, with only Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry sharing the limelight.
"The message from the palace balcony: Here is the future..." said the Daily Mail. – AFP