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What Was the Most Controversial Part of Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee?

The most controversial aspect of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee was the exclusion of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle from the balcony appearance, sparking debates on royal protocol and family dynamics. This decision highlighted the complexities within the monarchy. How do you think this reflects the changing face of the royal family? Join the conversation and share your views.
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

This past weekend, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years a monarch. It was a unique four-day event marked by street parties, parades, concerts, church services, pageants, and thousands of local gatherings all over the United Kingdom. As Elizabeth II is her nation's longest-serving monarch, the Platinum Jubilee was a historic event that may never be repeated.

However, the Jubilee was not entirely without its controversy. Aside from the usual debates about whether the UK should still have a monarch in the 21st century, one Jubilee event in particular raised more than a few eyebrows. English Heritage, the charity that manages thousands of historic sites around the UK, made the decision to project eight images of the Queen (one from each decade of her reign) onto the Stonehenge megaliths.

To mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, English Heritage projected 8 images from her reign onto Stonehenge.
To mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, English Heritage projected 8 images from her reign onto Stonehenge.

Although English Heritage described the display as a "spellbinding homage," others found it distasteful, or at least tacky, to project the Queen, who is the titular head of the Church of England, onto a UNESCO World Heritage Site with apparent spiritual significance to the ancient pre-Christian inhabitants of Britain.

It wasn't the first time the iconic Neolithic and Bronze Age monument has been illuminated in this way – as recently as 2020, individuals who contributed to the maintenance of cultural sites during the coronavirus pandemic were recognized with their images projected onto the standing stones.

Royally ridiculous?

  • On social media, more than a few people made tongue-in-cheek remarks about the similarities in age between the 96-year-old monarch and the 5,000-year-old monument. One user joked that the idea was completely "unhenged."

  • The images of the Queen selected by English Heritage for the Stonehenge projection included one of her 1953 coronation, one of her walking her beloved corgis, and a more recent image from the Royal Windsor Horse show. In London, a similar tribute of six portraits from the National Portrait Gallery was projected onto Marble Arch.

  • Back in 2014, the centenary of the start of the First World War, images of WWI soldiers were beamed onto the stones. More than one million soldiers trained for war in the Salisbury Plain area, where Stonehenge stands.

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...

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    • To mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, English Heritage projected 8 images from her reign onto Stonehenge.
      To mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne, English Heritage projected 8 images from her reign onto Stonehenge.