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What the Queen’s Role Means to Britain in Her Diamond Jubilee Year

Posted on the 31 May 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

London gears up for the Jubilee. Photo credit: fmpgoh

The background

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is approaching this June 3rd. Commentators are asking about and examining her role: as Defender of the Faith, as a monarch who is above political infighting. Commentators say that she represents someone who makes all faiths feel valued; that politicians should learn from her, and that she and her successors, whilst being of great value to a largely royalist country, should still be scrutinised.

Find out what the Top Ten Diamond Jubilee gifts are here on Periscope Post

Defender of the Faiths

The Queen, said Jonathan Sacks on The Times, was only late once: when she met a group of Holocaust survivors at St James’ Palace. She gave each one attention, and “stood with each until they had finished telling their personal story” The act of kindness almost had Sacks “in tears.” The fact is, we don’t always appreciate the Queen. “No one does interfaith better than the Royal Family” – she’s patron of the Council of Christians and Jews, for one. She’s head of the Church of England, sure, but “in her civic role she cares for all her subjects.” The royals “have done outstanding work with the faith communities.” Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh especially. Minority faiths “value the Queen because they know she values them.” She is loved, and has “been a blessing to us, the nation and the world.”

Royals must be scrutinised

Andreas Whittam Smith in The Independent said that after Princess Margaret’s divorce in 1976, the newspapers looked for gossipy stories about the royals. As an editor, he felt that was “unappealing.” He therefore decided not to cover the royals at all, unless they had “serious news interest.” The Queen, though, and her family, have recovered their poise – despite a brief hiccup in 1997 when they misjudged the mood about Diana. The Jubilee shows that the country is “deeply royalist,” as is Fleet Street. But we should still scrutinise the monarchy, and the Queen’s successors.

Politicians should learn from the Queen

We’re about to be “swept away,” said Mary Riddell in The Telegraph, “by Jubilee fever.” It’s strange to think that this sort of euphoria was once given to Tony Blair: “his rapturous welcome to Downing Street implied the genesis of a quasi-royal.” This Jubilee is taking place, though, in contrast to a background of a loathing of politicians. Cameron, Miliband and Clegg have “approval ratings of -11, -12 and -27” respectively. The Queen has +78. Politicians need to win back their position in people’s thoughts; and there needs to be “a new compact between market, state and citizen.” Britons “crave shared life and common purpose.” Politicians must now build on the “upsurge of public unity.” If not, then democracy will drift “towards perdition.”

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