It won’t have escaped anyone’s notice in the UK that the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations were held last weekend. A bumper extra-long bank holiday weekend lasting from Saturday through to Tuesday made sure of that, but the newspapers played their part too. Or at least most of them did.
Even the arch-republican Guardian had a fair bit of coverage, including a big photo gallery of people looking soggy along the Thames Embankment waiting for the flotilla last Sunday – which seems to have been edited down since to leave a single gallery of the flotilla itself. There was also a gloomy look at the British economy, from the promise of a bright future in 1952 to the worst five years of the Queen’s reign so far – 2007-2012. And, of course, a look at what was on where – plus how to avoid it, with a rather tart intro paragraph:
Whether you’re a royalist or a republican, the long weekend is a reason for everyone to wave a small flag of joy – Union Jack or otherwise. No work for four whole days. Thank you ma’am.
In Wales, things were a bit more celebratory. The Daily Post carried plenty of favourable coverage, including a county-by-county guide to celebrations. There was one article for those less enthusiastic about the monarchy, entitled “The Grumpy Guide to surviving the Diamond Jubilee” – and even there, the spin suggested that republicans must be killjoys.
Trinity Mirror‘s website for its South Wales newspapers, walesonline.co.uk, had a rather strange backdrop – adverts for a “Fireman Sam”-themed fair at a Pembrokeshire farm over the Whitsun weekend (which was also the Jubilee weekend). But its main story was “Jubilee revellers brave poor weather across Wales”.
The newspapers North of the Border were noticeably less fulsome in their coverage of events. Although The Herald had an article entitled “Jubilee Fever”, there was relatively little evidence of it – the article referred to Edinburgh’s 30 official street parties, a third of the total throughout Scotland. And in another article, about celebrations in Glasgow, there was this paragraph – referring to the Kelvingrove Park party:
There were similarly civilised scenes across Scotland yesterday, with more than 20 official street parties arranged in the west of Scotland alone.
Even The Scottish Sun was much lower-key than its London-based counterpart. Its news of the celebrations last Sunday did appear on its website’s home page, but a long way below the fold. The Sun‘s website had a big banner splashed right across the top of the screen: “Diamond Jubilation”. On the other hand, the other Scottish edition of a national newspaper, the Scottish Sunday Express, was much more up-front about its Jubilee celebrations.
Across the North Channel in Northern Ireland, coverage varied across newspapers. Unsurprisingly, the Unionist News Letter carried considerably more articles about the celebrations than the Nationalist Derry Journal.
Nevertheless, it was heartening to read in the Journal that Sinn Féin chose not to veto a proposal for an official Diamond Jubilee gift from the Northern Ireland Executive to the British Queen. Cause for celebration for even the most fervent anti-monarchist, surely.