LONDON — Forget about the Queen’s annus horribilus. It’s officially the annus jubileeus and it’s packed with enough parades, pageants, processions, concerts, gun salutes and Royal Air Force fly-pasts to last another 50 years.
Today and Tuesday have been declared national holidays and the city is festooned with Union Jack flags from Oxford Circus to Regent Street to Piccadilly to Soho Square, which is virtually wallpapered with the Union Jack and the St George’s Cross (the flag of England) in anticipation of a street party.
Designers have created tokens to mark the event, too. Paul Smith is selling wallets, velvet scarves and bra and panty sets emblazoned with the Union Jack, while Marks & Spencer has designed rhinestone-studded T-shirts with crowns and flags and a diamante-encrusted Union Jack brooch (there’s now a two-week waiting list). Burberry is selling a tote that features the Union Jack with stripes made from the signature plaid, and Dr. Martens has created a military jacket with “God Save the Queen” painted on the back.
Patrick Cox has unveiled a limited-edition Golden Jubilee Shoe 2002: a stiletto with a pointed toe and a bejeweled gold tiara above the heel. Blahnik has come out with a Jubilee Heel shoe with a golden crown design across the toe. And Lush cosmetics — the natural cosmetics firm — has created a fizzy bath bomb with gold flecks and stars and flying a mini Union Jack.
Window displays are a spectacle, too. The Queen’s grocer, Fortnum & Mason, has filled its windows with figurines revolving on giant jewel-encrusted crowns. Liberty has Warhol-like hanging portraits of the Queen in its windows, and the toy store Hamley’s has unveiled an extravagant display of giant velvet crowns adorned with toy soldiers and brass band figurines. The windows at Virginia, the vintage clothing store, are embellished with sequin-covered Union Jacks — as if this city needed any more sparkle.””