How to survive the jubilee weekend – for republicans

So you’re a republican. You agree with Polly Toynbee that Elizabeth II should be Elizabeth the Last. And the prospect of wall-to-wall jubilee celebrations fills you with dread.

But still … you like bank holidays. So, how do you survive the next four days?

Let yourself eat cake

It may seem daft to cheer someone for sitting on a throne for 70 years. But a lot of things we celebrate don’t make sense. Like birthdays. Is it really an achievement to make it through 365 days each year? No, but, then again … there’s always the cake.

Try to separate your ardent republicanism from what is really just a nice long weekend and make the most of the food on offer, which will major on snacks and puddings the UK is actually good at (sandwiches, crisps, baked goods). Escape the madness if you like (see below), but nobody is going to judge you for enjoying a scone at your local street party.

Join Peter Tatchell in Wales

Last month, the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell basically snubbed the Queen when he was invited to take part in a jubilee parade which would officially anoint him a “national treasure”. Tatchell declined, stating his lifelong republicanism and also that: “To my knowledge, [the Queen] has never publicly acknowledged that LGBT+ people exist. The words lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender have never publicly passed her lips and she has never visited or been a patron of any LGBT+ charity.”

Instead of taking part in Sunday’s pageant, Tatchell will be talking about trans rights at HowTheLightGetsIn, a music and philosophy festival in Hay-on-Wye, Wales. Tickets are still available if you want to join him.

Tune in for TV gold

Even though many republicans will welcome Kirsty Young’s return to the airwaves to helm the BBC’s coverage, some of the punditry is likely to be over the top – particularly during the bits where not much is happening – and therefore inadvertently hilarious.

And with showers predicted over the weekend, there are bound to be moments when rain will pour on the parade.

Who could forget what happened at the diamond jubilee? Even the most hardened republicans can only have admired the fortitude of the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir as it tried to finish Land of Hope and Glory from a barge on the Thames while being hit by so much horizontal rain that their earpieces kept falling out.

Enjoy the burn

You may have no time for the Queen and her clan, but you don’t have to be a monarchist to enjoy fire. The UK has a long tradition of celebrating royal jubilees, weddings and coronations with the lighting of beacons.

On Thursday, more than 1,500 will be lit in communities throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories, including all 54 Commonwealth capital cities.

The Principal beacon, involving the Tree of Trees (a 21-metre high “tree” constructed of 350 smaller trees), will be lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace at 9pm. And there’s always the music: the BBC’s Platinum Party at the Palace features Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow and George Ezra.

(Awkward) conversation with friends

If you aren’t bothered about having difficult chats with your monarchist neighbours, there are all manner of issues to raise over the coming days. The cost of the royals is an old favourite – £345m a year, according to the campaign group Republic.

The recent run of royal scandals should keep the conversation flowing – Prince Andrew’s friendship with the paedophile Jeffrey Epstein being the most obvious one for lively group discussion.

If all else fails – retreat to a royal-free zone

The government has pledged to end mobile phone black spots, with minister Julia Lopez saying: “We have all felt the frustration of having the ‘no bar blues’ when struggling to get a phone signal, so we are changing the law to wipe out mobile ‘not spots’.” Not yet, they haven’t. There are still lots of places in the country untouched by 3, 4 and certainly 5G mobile coverage. Wasdale Head in the western Lake District is one of them.


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