Blaise Tapp writes: It says a lot for the unrivalled popularity of the Queen that an estimated 39 million British adults are expected to do something to mark her 70 years on the throne.
Personally, me and my lot are going all out on the festivities and will be enjoying a family jubilee party this weekend, after having watched numerous civic events near where we are staying on holiday.
Add this to the commemorative picnic that was held at my youngest’s school and the level of my own celebrations is unparalleled. I didn’t celebrate my own 21st or my team lifting the FA Cup 14 years ago with anywhere near the same amount of vigour I’ll be displaying to congratulate a very old lady, who I don’t know, on doing her job for 70 years.
I’ve never considered myself to be an enthusiastic monarchist, so why will I be making such a big fuss about the Queen’s very special weekend?
Although I don’t care much for other members of her clan, like the vast majority of my compatriots, I have an unwavering respect for the Queen and what she has done for the nation over the past seven decades. I realise that, to some, that makes me come across as somebody who has a bulldog tattooed on their backside and breakfasts daily at their local Wetherspoons. While I don’t do either, I am unashamedly patriotic as far as the occupant of Windsor Castle is concerned and care little about what the naysayers think.
While her public approval rating has tended to hover around the 80 per cent mark in recent years – it’s hard to think of a public figure anywhere else in the world who enjoys greater popularity – there is a significant minority who won’t be wearing plastic Union Flag bowler hats while belting out the national anthem this weekend.
Last weekend #abolishthemonarchy was trending on Twitter, but then if you listened to Twitter, you’d have put a tenner on Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister in 2019. The antis’ objections are consistent – they believe the Queen and her equally privileged relatives are costing the taxpayer too much money, when their only qualification is an ‘accident of birth’.
This strength of feeling from some was evident for the world to see when some Liverpool fans booed God Save the Queen at this year’s FA Cup Final.
While the debate about the monarchy’s future might gain greater traction in years and decades to come, now isn’t the time to have it and I’m sure the coverage that will be fed to us over the course of this week will be nothing but positive.
Having a four-day weekend helps and, let’s face it, most of us need a break from the stark realities of life right now, even if we only watch the celebrations on telly while eating a family-size packet of onion rings.
One thing’s for sure, there will never be another national event like this one again and I’m certain most of the country will come together to celebrate somebody who is the personification of Britishness.
While the fun will soon be over I hope its memory will endure and when my kids look back on this weekend, they’ll remember being part of one big community.