The British have always chuckled at America's flamboyant patriotism and jingoistic self-love, but this summer the tiny island nation has two occasions that will test its modesty mettle: the London Summer Olympics and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Incessant flag-waving and ceremonial chest-thumping is already inducing hangovers for some of its citizenry and there's a sense (at least from where he sit) that the mood's shifting from a celebration to cynicism.
The party. It all started out so well. For those who aren't royal-watchers, the Diamond Jubilee marks 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, the second longest reign in British history just behind Victoria's 63 years from 1837 to 1901. Her original coronation date was June 2, 1962, but the celebrations have already begun in advance of the anniversary. As for the Olympics, the London opening ceremony is July 27. The pageantry kicked into full gear in March with a formal address by the queen at Westminister Hall followed by a "Jubileeregional tour."
North East London, March, 29
And it hasn't been just an elite sort of celebration. The Telegraph reports today that Britain is preparing to mark the jubilee with 10,000 street parties across the country bringing more than 6,500 roads to a standstill (double the amount of "community events" prompted by last year's Royal Wedding). "Britain’s street party tradition has been well and truly resurrected which is fantastic as it helps bring communities closer together," says Flick Rea, chairman of the Local Government Association’s culture and tourism board.