London’s Tea and Circuses | Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee – WSJ.com
Jubilee is one of the world’s oldest celebrations. Of course, in Leviticus it involved the reversion of all property to its divine Original Owner, which probably isn’t a custom Britons will wish to observe on the 60th anniversary of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In place of ancient Hebrew land reform, there will be something more like Roman bread and circuses.
First, bread. If it doesn’t rain on Sunday, June 3—not a bet I’d like to take—neighborhoods across Britain will lay out long trestle tables with food and drink for the Big Lunch.
You can find your local feast at thebiglunch.com, though possibly not the menu. But I can tell you what the 10,000 guests at the royal concert at Buckingham Palace will be eating and drinking at their picnic the next day: Jubilee chicken, created by Heston Blumenthal and royal chef Mark Flanagan it will undoubtedly take its place in the foodie canon alongside Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume’s 60-year-old recipe for Coronation chicken, sauced with curry flavored mayonnaise, and Sandringham strawberry crumble crunch, with upscale supermarket chain Waitrose supplying the rest of the nosh. To drink: specially labeled fizz by royal-warrant-holding Moët & Chandon.
Now to the circuses. In a side ring on the Saturday, you have the elder Windsors attending the Epsom Derby. On the Sunday, you have the pageant, when the queen in her royal barge leads a thousand-boat flotilla to a point downriver of Tower Bridge. To quote the official site: “There will be an exuberance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats of note.” And the London Philharmonic Orchestra will play appropriate music near Waterloo Bridge—if anyone can hear it.
In the main ring, though, is the concert given by some aged knights of British pop, like Elton John and Tom Jones, plus the odd-woman-out, American soprano Renée Fleming. At 10:30 p.m., the queen will light the “National Beacon” by dropping a diamond in a pot that ignites the flame of the torch in the Mall. This will be broadcast live on radio and TV—probably the wisest place to watch it, as London traffic is bound to be at a standstill.
Strange Random Royalty Quote:
“Royalty is a government in which the attention of the nation is concentrated on one person doing interesting actions.” – Walter Bagehot (British political Analyst, Economist and Editor, one of the most influential journalists of the mid-Victorian period, 1826-1877)
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- Queen Elizabeth marks diamond jubilee on popular wave (rawstory.com)
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Attends a Reception for the Launch of ‘Queen Victoria’s Journals’ (VIDEOS) (royalcorrespondent.com)
- Queen Elizabeth II watches military parade outside Windsor Castle home marking Diamond Jubilee (foxnews.com)
- A Royal Party: Britain Celebrates 60 Years of Queen Elizabeth II (globalspin.blogs.time.com)