Queen Liz is 90 - but what does it mean for us?
By Anna Trevelyan
On 21st April Queen Elizabeth will turn 90. It’s sure to be an important few months of celebrations for Royalists, but what does it actually mean for our country?
Depending on who you ask, it is likely to have an effect on our economy. According to a recent survey, over 1 billion pounds is the expected bill for the UK-wide celebrations to mark the event. At a time when some of the UK’s least well off people are facing benefit and tax credit cuts, not to mention the looming mass unemployment of thousands of steel industry workers, all the pomp and grandeur could come across as being in very poor taste. On the other hand, it will bring visitors into the UK who will contribute to our economy whilst they are here – and with tickets for the main street party coming in at a whopping £150 each perhaps it isn’t for us to say what the wealthy want to spend their money on.
Although some may see the 90th birthday as being a distraction from the doom and gloom of the deficit, it must be a bitter pill to swallow for other pensioners on the poverty line to be celebrating the birthday of a woman who was born into extreme wealth and privilege. There is no denying it is a real achievement, to turn 90 and still be working hard as Head of State, but perhaps the OTT celebrations with golden carriages, huge diamonds and horse guards being paraded in front of the ‘commoners’ (kept behind large barriers, of course) may highlight how outdated and out of touch the idea of the monarchy is for some. (This would not be considered appropriate for David Cameron’s birthday, for example – and he was actually elected to be in his position.)
According to surveys of the general public, over half of the UK population plan to celebrate the event. The survey also revealed that 15% of people will be throwing or attending their own party, and most surveyed planned to spend between £26 and £49 for the event. There is no doubt that the Queen is popular in many parts of the UK, and is still loved by plenty of people, which perhaps comes down to her dynamic character and achievement in holding the record for Britain’s longest reign.
It will be interesting to see whether the general public still maintain their approval of the monarchy once Queen Elizabeth no longer reigns. ComRes survey polls of the British public revealed that 55% of people are against Prince Charles becoming King, and that 4 in 10 people wanted the crown to pass straight from Elizabeth to Prince William. Indeed, there seems no sign of Elizabeth giving up the crown, according to insider reports, as she intends to carry on working for as long as possible.
Although I won’t personally be attending any parties to celebrate the big 9-0, I’ll probably raise a glass to the lady at some point. She is a formidable force, whether we approve of her unelected and subsidised lifestyle or not, and it is certainly an achievement. I agree that it is nice to celebrate something, and have a feeling of togetherness which counters some of the awful stories in the news at the moment. Although it is likely to be chaos in London, and the TV will be filled with pictures of the privileged, smiling at us in outfits and in cars most of us will never dream of being able to afford, I’ll be adopting the classic British attitude of: keep calm and carry on.
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