Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilee Weekend

This weekend I tried Pimm's for the first time, in honour of the Diamond Jubilee.  It was ok--like a weak, slightly fizzy version of sangria--but more importantly, it's a traditional British summer drink (even if we did have to drink it indoors because the weather didn't cooperate).  We ate pub food and wore red, white & blue (might wear the same outfit for my 4th of July bbq next month...), and had a lovely time celebrating all things British.

During the Royal Wedding last year, I read a few pieces on how the Royal Wedding (and the monarchy more generally) played a role in Britain's public diplomacy.  This time around, I haven't seen much PD-related discussion about the Jubilee.  It certainly hasn't been the media event that the Royal Wedding was.  My family back in the States reported only seeing highlights and brief news clips (even on BBC America).   Compare that to last year, when my mom and other fans in the Pacific time zone woke up at 3 a.m. to catch Will & Kate's big day.  2 billion people tuned in--nearly 1 in 3 people on earth--and this year, the big screen in Leeds' Millennium Square wasn't even turned on to catch the Queen's balcony moment (pictured above).  Just in terms of its rarity, the Diamond Jubilee is a pretty big deal.  Britain hasn't had a monarch last for 60 years since Queen Victoria.  (by the way, the royal family's official website posted a great interactive 'scrapbook' recently about her Diamond Jubilee in 1897:  It's a rarer than a once-in-a-lifetime event--my great-grandma lived to be 102 and missed it by a few years on either side.  So why aren't more people interested?

My guess is that the Jubilee is more significant for the Queen's subjects in the UK & Commonwealth--and even there, you have some republicans who are against the monarchy--where as the Royal Wedding had a broader appeal.  Seeing an 86-year-old celebrate the fact she's still alive (much like a birthday) isn't really as compelling as watching a beautiful young couple get married.  The Diamond Jubilee doesn't have the same 'fairytale' factor that the wedding did--but it certainly does have the same merchandising, as witnessed in a Skipton shop window:

Keep Calm and Buy More Bunting
Since its appeal is limited to the Queen's subjects (and not even all of them), the Diamond Jubilee may simply have less potential as a PD tool than the Royal Wedding did.  Foreign audiences just don't appreciate the rain-soaked flotilla on the Thames the way that British nationals do. 
(The Daily Show was particularly harsh about it (mostly harsh about CNN's coverage): The Queen Who Stares at Boats - The Daily Show)

No comments:

Post a Comment