People walk along The Mall in London, on June 1, 2022 as they camp out ahead of the start of the Queen's Jubilee weekend. Britain will celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne with four days of festivities beginning with her ceremonial birthday parade on June 2, 2022. Image Credit: AP

London: Putting aside a biting inflationary crisis and doubts over the monarchy’s future, Britons are set to party starting Thursday to mark a record-breaking 70 years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth II.

The Platinum Jubilee offers a four-day respite from a surge in prices not seen since the 1970s, with accounts emerging daily of people struggling to put food on the table and clothe their children.

With two public holidays from Thursday and then the weekend, pubs, restaurants and retailers are hoping for a timely sales boost, after a difficult period including the Covid pandemic.

With Prince Charles taking over more of his mother’s duties for occasions of state, there is a sense that the first — and possibly the last — Platinum Jubilee in British history marks a turning of the page.

A poll for The Sun newspaper this week gave the queen a 91.7-per cent approval rating. But Charles commanded only 67.5 per cent, behind his son Prince William on 87.4 per cent.

Historian Anthony Seldon, addressing a discussion at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), said the monarchy’s centuries-old power to adapt and survive should not be underestimated.

But he added: “And how traumatic it’s going to be when it unravels, as well as it might in the next two, three, four years when the change comes.”

Unlike the vocal Charles, the queen has rarely vented an opinion in public, and her sheer longevity means that she has been a fixture of the lives of nearly every Briton alive.

She has overcome numerous family traumas, including Charles’ very public split from Princess Diana, and personal heartache when her consort Prince Philip died aged 99 last year, modernising the monarchy along the way.

Spitfires and Sheeran

The jubilee events begin on Thursday with Trooping the Colour, the military parade that has officially marked the British monarch’s birthday for more than 250 years.

A fly-past will include Spitfires, the iconic fighter plane that helped win the Battle of Britain and fend off Nazi Germany in 1940.

The aerial display is expected to be watched by the queen and senior royals from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

Numbers have been limited to “working royals” only, leaving no place for self-exiled grandson Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan, nor Elizabeth’s disgraced second son Prince Andrew.

Patriotic nostalgia runs red, white and blue throughout the four days of festivities, culminating in Ed Sheeran singing “God Save the Queen” in front of Buckingham Palace on Sunday.

Participants in a giant public parade through central London on Sunday will be familiar to anyone acquainted with British popular culture since 1952.

But Bollywood dancers and a Caribbean carnival will also reflect the changes in British society since then, from one that was predominantly white and Christian, to one that is multicultural and multi-faith.

Britain’s Empire has given way to a Commonwealth of nations — 14 of which still count the queen as their head of state, including Australia and Canada.

But recent royal tours of the Caribbean have laid bare growing tensions about the British monarchy’s status further afield.

“This queen has been a significant glue within that Commonwealth,” said Michael Cox, emeritus professor of international relations at LSE.

“Whether, how successfully, Charles is going to play the same role, I don’t know,” he said.