Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee: A Way for British to Forget About Austerity?

Queen Elizabeth of England went to the races on Saturday to kick off the four days of nationwide Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which mark her 60 years on the British throne effectively making her the second queen to reign for at least that long.

The other one was Queen Elizabeth's great-great-grandmother Victoria, in 1897.

The festivities, which could be interpreted by foreigners as ostentatious pageantry in the face of a painful wave of austerity across the UK, are nonetheless supposed to represent the goodwill of the Kingdom which is also hosting the Olympic Games in July.

In that spirit, “all ages and classes” mingle together” for one time at the queen’s own backyard, in a unified and top hat-wearing crowd jubilant about “flying the flag” and feeling for one day that they belong to the monarchy as they ride horses and attend parades.  

Millions of others who weren’t on the queen’s list are expected to line up the streets to watch parades and attend street parties across the country as evidence that, as the polls show, the popularity of the royal family is at an all-time high. 

In the meantime, Prime Minister David Cameron’s office will be part of a “Big Jubilee Lunch” by Downing Street. The queen's London residence Buckingham Palace will also host a pop concert on Monday featuring the likes of Paul McCartney and Elton John.

The celebrations culminate on Tuesday with a memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral as a chance for royalists to express their appreciation of a woman who acceded to the throne in February 1952, when her father King George VI died.