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Culture

The Queen's Golden Handshake

While well-wishers line the streets of London as Britain's Queen Elizabeth celebrates her Golden Jubilee, it seems British republicans have been silenced. So, the perfect parade for England's party queen?

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The Royals reeling in the young

At a Thanksgiving service held at St. Paul's Cathedral the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, spoke of Queen Elizabeth's 'dedication' and 'steadfastness'. Comments that the British weekly The Economist must have been thinking of when it criticised 'this sycophantic guff', saying it reflected widespread ignorance about what the queen had actually done during her 50-year reign.

The last few days have seen an upsurge in British royalist fervor. But less than a million people flocked to the center of the British capital on Tuesday, the last of four days of celebrations, to wave at the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on their way to St. Paul's from Buckingham Palace. It was less than the million who tuned in to watch Monday night's pop and rock concert on the grounds of the palace.

Moved to smile as usual

Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth's teeth

The queen was moved, she said, by the public's huge show of support, thanking her so-called subjects for coming together in celebration of an "up and down" 50 years on the throne. While a 41-gun salute was fired, and trumpets played, she graced the crowds with the same fixed smile she has worn for the best part of half a century.

Tagging along was the rest of the family, including Prince Andrew, Prince William and Harry, Princess Beatrice and Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex. The Princess Royal and the Prince of Wales brought up the rear on horseback.

The Family has been the source of much embarrassment of late, adding to the public agony of a reputation hard hit since the queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 - incidentally, the same year British punk band the Sex Pistols released the royal-bating "God Save the Queen". They, too, have a Jubilee to celebrate.

The 76-year-old monarch has seen her popularity slip and her role questioned. One scandal has followed the other, with infidelities, blundering racist commentary and dope-smoking royal adolescents grabbing headlines around the world.

All quiet on the Caribbean front

On the former British colony Barbados, the Jubilee has received little fanfare. The High Commission was closed for celebrations, but the island which was once known as "Little England" saw no parties or flag-waving. Only a cool "Congratulations on Your Golden Jubilee" was offered in the Nation newspaper on Sunday. The country thought in the past to be more English than England has been independent since 1966.

But while other Commonwealth nations like Zimbabwe and Australia continue to consider breaking away from the pack, it seems that the British might never let go.

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