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Costly affair: UK marks Queen’s diamond jubilee amid crisis

Published time: June 04, 2012 19:44
Edited time: June 04, 2012 23:44

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II waves as she travels aboard the Royal Barge 'Spirit of Chartwell' in the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the River Thames in London, on June 3, 2012. (AFP Photo/Glyn Kirk)

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Pompous festivities are taking place throughout Britain this long weekend with millions celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s diamond jubilee. But some found it hard to get festive among the job cuts, slashed wages, petrol hikes and rising education costs.

Some experts predicted that Britons would spend over a billion dollars on patriotic purchases such as hats, flags and different jubilee memorabilia.

The amount of money spent on the celebrations remains undisclosed but is likely to equal the annual budget of a small country. The weekend celebrations included the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant consisting of up to 1,000 boats assembled from across the UK and a televised Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace.

Some feel that the money could have been better spent with the country now in a crisis and slashing public services and introducing drastic cuts.

“It’s kind of disgusting to be perfectly honest. We’re in the midst of a double-dip recession, people are really feeling the pinch, with wage freezes, unemployment. The standard of living is really suffering but yet our queen has made no acknowledgement of that,” said Andrew Child, a director of the campaign group, Republic.

The authorities have repeatedly emphasized that the jubilee celebration is for everyone, urging people to take part in festivities. But among those who took to the streets some did so for quite different purposes.

“They say the jubilee is for everyone but if it was really for everyone, we’d be celebrating by balancing the inequality of power and wealth in this country. Instead we’re celebrating monarchy, armed forces, obscene levels of wealth and all at a time of austerity – this is not a celebration of the British people,” said activist Simon Hill.

For more on the story watch RT’s Sarah Firth’s report from London.