The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: The View From America

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip watching the Thames Pageant from the royal barge. (AP Photo/John Stillwell, Pool, File)

What did this Brooklyn-based expat do for the Diamond Jubilee? Went to Ikea and bought a shelf, since you ask. But not before I baked pancakes in the shape of corgis and clicked the heels of my diamante Union Jack stilettos while chanting, “There’s no place like home. Then again, at least it’s not raining here.”

Later, while my countrymen munched Victoria sponge and strained their drenched necks at the edge of the Thames to see what Beatrice and Eugenie had on their heads, I dunked McVities Digestives into a mug of Yorkshire Gold and dipped into the Jubilee coverage.

These are my highlights, as seen from a laptop in a far-off land:

The Thames flotilla
Poor Queen – it rained on her parade. But that didn’t stop her subjects from plastering themselves in red, white and blue and donning cagoules to watch the 1,000-vessel water pageant on Sunday. The largest barge was reserved for royalty, who smiled toothily and waved just like it said they should in the handbook. I hope at least one of them had a hot toddy in a hipflask.

The Diamond Jubilee concert
Ten thousand ticket holders lined The Mall while millions tuned in at home to watch antique rock stars like Macca and Elton John pretend that punk never happened. All good fun, especially if you didn’t actually have to be there. Okay, yes, the ex-Beatle sounded like he’d swallowed a jug of tone-deaf kittens and E.J.’s pink jacket only partially managed to distract us from his flaky vocal. On the plus side, the Queen turned up fashionably late, Lenny Henry told Rolf Harris to shut up, and Madness played “Our House” from the roof of Buckingham Palace.

Fearne Cotton keeping it real
BBC presenter Fearne Cotton did a mildly snarky segment with singer Paloma Faith. The pair’s tongue in cheek perusal of Jubilee paraphernalia culminated with Paloma holding up a paper bag with the Queen’s face on it and issuing instructions: “If you’ve eaten too much then you can just vomit into a Jubilee sick bag.” Remember, it’s not treason if it’s hilarious.

What was your most memorable Jubilee moment?

Ruth Margolis

Ruth Margolis

Ruth is a British freelance journalist who recently swapped east London for Brooklyn. She writes about TV for Radio Times and is working on her first novel.

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  • World-Traveler

    My favorite part of the Jubilee Concert was the performances by Alfie Boe. He sang” O Sole Mio”, with a segue into “It’s Now or Never”
    early in the concert, and then sang “Somewhere” with American Sopranot Renee Fleming. This latter was exquisitly sung by both, bringing goosebumps and a tear or two at the beauty of the song/singers. I was able to hear these via BBC Radio while at work, and thank goodness for YT since the American Network that aired the concert didn’t see fit to include these performances.

  • NYCAnglophile

    I would hardly refer to Paul McCartney as antique. I agree that his vocals were not up to par at the Jubilee Concert but at almost 70 years old, he’s still a rocker.

  • Liam

    Celebrate the queen’s 50th? He no. She’s a cold hearted bitch.

    If the queen wants to repair her image she should, on her jubilee, visit the grave stone of Princess Diana and place there, a beautiful arrangement of flowers. American’s have not forgotten.

  • Liam

    Celebrate the queen’s 50th? Hell NO! She’s a cold hearted bitch. If she loves her country who should try to put a stop to monarchy. She should kneel at the grave stone of Princess Diana and place flowers to ask forgiveness. We American’s have not forgotten.

  • Duel Citizen

    “American’s have not forgotten” ?

    First off, who is this “American” and how does he or she have some kind of ownership over something called “have not forgotten”.

    Smart people help the special needs people for me…

    As an American, I think I can honestly say that the Diana comment was pretty typical of a small part of American society that simply doesn’t bother to at least understand a portion of how different another culture is before speaking.

    Royal or not they are still a family and I’m sure that kind of thing is reserved for private and as someone who is old enough to remember what happened to Diana, I’d think that would be understood.

    These are the kind of people who make celebrities hide from the public who think that just because the celebrity is in the public eye that means an all access pass to their lives AND that the public gets a right to judge their every move.

    This person’s belief must be that if America had a Queen, she’d be throwing herself on the grave screamin “Oh lordy lordy” all the while it is captured in HD and sponsored by Kleenex and Viagra.

    Yeah… Not how they do things over there regardless of who it is.

    So quick to say such things about the Queen, why not call out William as well for not enlisting a BBC crew to accompany him and his new bride to drop by and deliver flowers to Mum?

  • Duel Citizen


    That is just something that isn’t done in this country or Britain regardless of the situation unless the desire was to catch it on tape to begin with and drain every ounce of honest sincerity out of it.

  • Paul Nicholson

    10,000 lined The Mall? No, half a million did. The 10,000 were sitting around the Victoria monument.