June 7, in London, is the highlight of the festivities. At 50, the Queen, mother of Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, but not yet a grandmother, is celebrating 25 years of her reign. She wears a sweet pink hat she wears, which is one of her glamorous outfits that she has the secret to. This moment of unity and national pride is followed around the world by a billion viewers on television. British privacy, plates and mugs with his doll are sold by the thousands. More than a million Britons – many of whom have taken to the streets, despite the rain – line the streets of London to cheer the carriage transporting their King and husband Prince Philip to St Paul’s Cathedral. There, thirty-seven heads of state – including US President Jimmy Carter – and representatives of Commonwealth countries await them at a religious ceremony.
After going to City Hall to renew her oath to serve the people all her life, the King then returned to Buckingham Palace to the cheers of the rave crowd. On the same evening, a solemn display of boats and fireworks was presented to the inhabitants of London, to the angels. The enthusiasm is that the entire royal family must appear on the palace balcony several times – including in the middle of the night – to greet the onlookers.
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However, the celebrations almost never took place. The country was hit by the first oil shock in 1973 and paralyzed by repeated strikes, then plunged into a very serious economic crisis, with high unemployment and extremely high inflation reaching unprecedented levels. The Labor government of James Callahan, which came to power in 1976, debated at length the advisability of organizing such a celebration, which would have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to the public finances. Six months before the jubilee, and on the verge of bankruptcy, the UK had to borrow $3.9 billion from the International Monetary Fund! The prestige of the country came out of it severely damaged.
“God Save the Queen” crazy provocation of sex pistols
Three weeks before the festivities begin, on May 27, punk band Sex Pistols released their new single: “God Save the Queen.” Johnny Rotten’s band mocks the monarchy and the queen, as she is presented as not belonging to the human race (“she’s not a human being”) and personifies a debilitating “fascist regime.” Labels accompanying the album’s release are Not in the Lace: The Queen is adorned with a safety pin at the nose. The violence of the words aroused the indignation of part of the opinion, but the disc struck. It was acclaimed by a large part of young Englishmen, and got 150,000 copies in five days.
So it was a double or a resignation: would the Silver Jubilee masterpieces have provoked an outburst of wrath from the British people or on the contrary proved beneficial to English morale (and by the way the image of the crown) and re-welding around a common symbol? On June 7, the British people decided, when to celebrate. Buckingham and 10 Downing Street, who had finally agreed to organize the festivities, accompanied by the Queen’s major tour across the country and all the states of the Commonwealth, won their bet.
Provocative to the end, Sex Pistols took the opportunity to organize a private concert on the Thames on a boat called … “Queen Elizabeth”, quickly boarding six police patrol boats. They shouted “There is no future in the dream of England”, among other things, the group shouted “God Save the Queen” whose debut single, “Anarchy in the UK”, was a huge success in 1976.