Britain is grooming itself for the Silver Jubilee celebrations, marking the 25th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Britain is grooming itself for the Silver Jubilee celebrations, marking the 25th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Streets in London and towns and cities throughout the country are colourfully decorated with bunting, flags and portraits of the Queen. British industry is preparing for the expected huge influx of tourists by producing a large range of Jubilee souvenirs.
SYNOPSIS: On her recent tour of Scotland, the Queen received an overwhelming reception, giving an indication of the interest generated by the Jubilee celebrations.
Jubilee flags and banners are appearing in streets all over the country and are outward signs that the extensive backroom preparations for the Jubilee events, scheduled for June and July, are nearly complete. One unexpected problem comes from the tourist boom, which has broken all records. There simply isn't enough accommodation for the predicted 11.5 million visitors in London, home of the colourful Grenadier Guards, and centre of the Jubilee celebrations.
The Jubilee, the first since the Queen's grandfather George the Fifth celebrated his in 1935, has captured the imagination of industry and local authorities, and the list of Jubilee events has filled a lavish 44-page programme.
The Jubilee souvenir boom has puzzled even the optimists in British industry. Expensive silver goblets, basalt busts of the Queen and vases, all sold out long before they reached the market. The Wedgwood group, which alone produced half a million souvenir items, said most of their advance orders came from overseas, where the British monarchy is still considered one of the country's foremost attractions. Most local manufacturers underestimated the demand, and the bulk of sales have gone to enterprising overseas manufacturers.
Million of Britons will participate in the Jubilee events, highlighted by Queen's procession through London on June 7. Celebrations by request of the Queen were to be run on a shoestring, but now seem certain to cost millions of pounds sterling. The Queen will only be able to attend a few of the functions her subjects have organised to mark, in the words of Prime Minister James Callaghan, "a quarter of a century of devotion and public duty".