Platinum jubilee

The royal rabble vs the Queen

By and large, the Platinum Jubilee celebrations were a success. Barring the odd moment of inexplicable poor taste, it was a well-choreographed blend of pageantry, ceremony and fun, and the deservedly viral clip of Paddington taking tea with the Queen seemed to epitomise a spirit of generosity and togetherness. Yet Her Majesty might be forgiven, looking at the headlines since the Jubilee, for wishing that she could always be in the company of an amiable fictitious bear, rather than her unpredictable and wilful family. Given the self-indulgent shenanigans that her family seem intent on creating during the final years of her reign, the Queen might be forgiven for wanting to

What is the most significant year of the Queen’s reign?

Andrew Roberts The most important moment came on 11 November 1975 when her governor-general in Australia, Sir John Kerr, dismissed the Labour government under Gough Whitlam, doing so in her name. Although the Queen knew nothing about it before it happened (indeed, she was asleep at the time), it reiterated the vital constitutional principle that there is a power above politicians, even elected ones as in Whitlam’s case. Whitlam had driven Australia to the brink of economic and social collapse, but Kerr saved the country using the Queen’s royal prerogative. His decision was enthusiastically endorsed by the Australian people at the subsequent general election, with a landslide victory for Malcolm

30,000 gallons of wine, 2,000 golden bulls and a three-month party: how the ancients celebrated

The ancients certainly knew how to put on a celebration. Let us hope the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee comes up to scratch. In 274 bc the Greek pharaoh of Egypt, Ptolemy II, staged a procession in honour of his father. It featured 400 cartloads of silver plate, 20 of gold and 800 of spices, 57,600 infantry, 23,200 horse, 2,000 bulls covered in gold, 2,400 dogs, 150 men carrying exotic trees with birds in them and 120 boys carrying saffron on gold platters. They were accompanied by elephants, goats, hartebeest, camels, ostriches, peacocks, a large white bear, three bear cubs, 14 leopards, 16 cheetahs, a giraffe and an Ethiopian rhinoceros. A vast

Portrait of the week: Jubilee celebrations, energy bill discounts and a trade deal with Indiana

Home The Jubilee for the Queen’s 70 years on the throne was marked by two days of public holiday, 16,000 street parties, a service at St Paul’s, Trooping the Colour, late pub opening, beacons, bells, and anxiety about the Queen’s health. After Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in parliament that he had added £15 billion of public money to the £9 billion allocated in the spring statement to relieving energy bills, the nation questioned what it meant for their pockets and for Conservative politics. The government would get some of the money for the plan from a windfall tax, or ‘energy profits levy’, of 25 per cent

The quiet radicalism of Elizabeth II

Long before domestic woes and an inferno at Windsor had prompted the Queen to describe 1992 as her ‘annus horribilis’, she had a very frank discussion with her prime minister, John Major. On this particular matter, she made it clear that she was not interested in ministerial advice. Her mind was made up. She had decided to pay income tax. For the best part of two years, through war in the Gulf and a recession, sections of the media had been painting a picture of a spoiled, profligate royal family carrying on without a care. Every long-range snap of a shooting party or of the Duchess of York on another