Jubilee Festivities, TV Coverage Wrap up on More Sober Note

Queen Elizabeth Jubilee
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Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 60th anniversary on the throne with a horse carriage procession as a report highlighted the bad treatment of some jubilee security workers.

LONDON - Queen Elizabeth II's diamond jubilee celebrations and the extensive TV coverage of them wrapped up here on Tuesday as the monarch attended a thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, a reception, a lunch and a horse carriage procession.

With the Queen's husband, Prince Philip, in the hospital with a bladder infection, son Prince Charles sat next to her in the cathedral and in the carriage. Prince Philip is expected to remain in hospital for several days as a precautionary measure.

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Overall, Tuesday, the actual 60th anniversary of the monarch's ascension to the throne, focused on events that were more traditional than the star-studded Monday night diamond jubilee concert in front of Buckingham Palace. The BBC drew the year's largest TV crowd with that spectacular.

The final day of the jubilee festivities was also partly overshadowed by a report by the Guardian that a security firm had used unemployed people without pay during a river fleet procession on Sunday who had to sleep under London Bridge.

It said that up to 30 unpaid job seekers on a government work program were asked to sleep under London Bridge before Sunday's river fleet pageant, they had to change into security uniforms in public and had no restroom breaks for 24 hours. The news led to calls for the government to look into whether the security firm had broken employment rules and to review the company's contract for the Summer Games.

The company apologized for the bridge "incident," but explained that some workers were unpaid, because they wanted to get work experience, but could have lost their unemployment benefits otherwise.

The Queen herself thanked all the hard-working people who had made the long jubilee weekend possible in a brief evening TV address.

In the pre-taped message, she expressed gratitude that people celebrated together "in such a happy atmosphere" and hope that the jubilee and other events of this year "will brighten our lives for many years to come."

That comment was clearly a reference to the Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games here, scheduled to take place July 24-Aug. 12 and Aug. 29-Sept. 9, respectively.

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai