The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
Friday, June 01, 2012
Across the United Kingdom, streets are lined with Union Jacks in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee — 60 years since she inherited the crown in 1952. But with the Queen’s Golden Jubilee only a decade behind them, a royal wedding last year, and the Olympics coming up this summer, are Britons up for yet another party?
“Absolutely,” says Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Monarch, an authorized biography which came out this year. Bedell Smith tells Kurt Andersen that after years of scandal and tragedy in the royal family, people have come to appreciate the Queen’s steadfast sense of duty and discretion. “One of the messages, probably subliminal, that the Queen is sending during these Jubilee festivals, is that there is royal family solidarity again,” Bedell Smith says.
The festivities are also a chance to show how the Queen and the institutions around her have changed with the times. “She has incrementally modernized the monarchy,” Bedell Smith explains. And while Buckingham Palace doesn’t openly embrace movies such as The Queen (2006) and The King’s Speech (2010), Bedell Smith says that officials there see them as helping the brand.
“I’ve traveled overseas and around the UK with the Queen and Prince Philip and their entourage,” she says, “and their press people almost work like producers. It’s a very sophisticated operation. They understand the need for royal branding.”
(Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images)