So, as Queen Elizabeth II – simply, to the world, the Queen – celebrates her Platinum Jubilee, she must look back on decades spent, to put it mildly, in the public eye. Throughout her life and, particularly, throughout her reign, reporters, correspondents, feature writers, photographers, cameramen, at times producers and directors, have been ever present: if not always close at hand, never very far away either. That this is inevitable, necessary, desirable even, has always been accepted by the Queen; all she has asked is that a distinction should be drawn between State and public duties, when she is ‘on parade’, and those times she regards as personal and private. She has also sought this distinction for her family, though in some cases not always with the same success.
The monarchy has always been a target for some criticism, whether for genuine republican reasons or just for the sheer hell of it. Several of the Queen’s ancestors were cruelly and viciously lampooned and Queen Victoria went through a period when she was getting far from a ‘good press’. During the present reign and perhaps particularly since the 60s, the monarchy has been satirised, mocked, lampooned and regularly described as being in its last days. But even during the roughest periods – the 90s for instance – the Queen herself has seldom received anything but a complimentary press and, as it were, favourable reviews. If the Silver and Golden Jubilee years are anything to go by, the Platinum Jubilee will be a time of genuine rejoicing and thanksgiving, and the Queen’s years of dedicated service sincerely celebrated.