The holiday hangover will hit the UK on Monday. After four days of truce, with the celebrations and celebrations of the Platinum Jubilee, which in a long weekend will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the reign of Elizabeth II (96 years old), the political crisis that hammers the Government of Boris Johnson, and by extension all Britons, since the beginning of the year. On Sunday there will be 16,000 street celebrations in honor of the only public figure that today raises the consensus of citizens. The following week, when the House of Commons resumes its activity, the drums of rebellion will sound again in the conservative parliamentary group. It will be the endless hangover of the holidays. The Downing Street ones. The ones in confinement. Those held the night before the queen sat alone, muffled in mourning and wearing a mask, to bid farewell to her husband Philip of Edinburgh in the chapel of Windsor Castle.
“His attitude, during these seven decades, has been one of great dignity. And for those who think that this is not important, just look at the outrage caused by the Boris Johnson government, ”says historian Anthony Seldon, co-founder of the Institute for Contemporary British History. “People want their rabbis, their imams, their priests and their politicians to behave better than they behave themselves. He doesn’t want them to misbehave. And the queen, it must be said, she has known how to behave well ”, defends the academic.
Almost as old as the queen herself (it began to be published nine years after Elizabeth II ascended the throne), the satirical and irreverent magazine Private Eye has synthesized better than anyone the current state of the country in its special edition of the Jubilee. “I can’t believe he’s survived this long,” the queen tells Johnson, in one of the most recent photos of her weekly meetings at Buckingham Palace. “Enjoy your four days of festivities,” the prime minister replies. “They are not parties. They are work events”, settles the monarch in the imaginary conversation.
And as usual in recent years, much more so after the long pandemic, Elizabeth II will do her best to be seen at most of these events, although the growing “mobility problems” that Buckingham Palace has been warning of restrict your schedule. This Thursday, during the celebration of the Trooping The Color, The massive military parade with which the official birthday of the monarch is celebrated in early June, will be the second in line of succession, William of England, who will review 1,500 officers and 250 horses from the royal stables.
But the most iconic image of the House of Windsor, the greeting from the balcony of the palace after observing the low flight of the Red Arrows or the Spitfire, with their trail of colors of the British flag, the Union Jack, will continue to have Elizabeth II at its center. Flanked by her son Charles of England (73 years old) and her wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, and by the Dukes of Cambridge, William and Kate. A more restricted and functional royal family. The one that the heir has been patiently designing since the monarch has been delegating most of her representation work to him. The hand of the Prince of Wales is behind the decision to remove his brother, Prince Andrew, and his son, Prince Henry, from public duties. The first, because of his murky relations with the millionaire American pederast, Jeffrey Epstein. The second, for having tried, together with his wife Meghan Markle, to manage his own image as a member of royalty, outside the supervision of The Firm (The Company, as the tabloid newspapers call the royal family).
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The BBC, the greatest instrument for the promotion and prestige of British culture, has prepared exceptional coverage for the four days of the Jubilee, which will include the great religious ceremony on Friday at Westminster Abbey, the concert and show in honor of Elizabeth II Saturday, and the thousands of street celebrations across the country on Sunday, which will culminate in a glorious parade. Little oxygen for the republican sentiment of the United Kingdom, which exists, but moves in margins that are not very threatening to the establishment. 54% of Britons believe that the monarchy is good for their country. Barely 13% think otherwise. And one in four have no idea about it, resigned to a landscape that is seen as immovable and as English as Yorkshire pudding.
“There will always be a Republican niche, but it is very small. The queen has shown very good public relations skills, and although she leaves a trail that is difficult to follow, I think that the future is very assured in the figure of Kate Middleton, who has shown a very astute instinct when it comes to detect what works and what doesn’t with British citizens”, the former judge of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, Jonathan Sumption, suggested a few days ago to EL PAÍS.
Years of division around Brexit have turned into years of confrontation around a character as controversial as Johnson. The United Kingdom is entering a huge crisis, aggravated by the war in Ukraine and rampant inflation. And the Palace of Westminster, seat of Parliament, is frozen in a grueling, never-ending debate about the partygate, Downing Street’s banned parties during lockdown. With about 28 Conservative MPs who have already publicly admitted having sent a letter of withdrawal of confidence against the prime minister to the leadership of the parliamentary group, the internal vote to decide whether Johnson goes ahead – 54 letters are needed to activate it – is now only a matter of time. The British have decided to give themselves a four-day truce to celebrate Elizabeth II, the only public figure in whom they recognize themselves, even from nostalgia, before returning to the political mud of recent months.
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