Today and all weekend long we celebrate The Queen, in my opinion, our greatest ever monarch.
A figure whose unwavering and steadfast service for 70 years has seen the monarchy not only survive but thrive, in the midst of the sort of social change and political upheaval almost impossible to imagine in 1952 as Elizabeth the Second took the throne.
I shudder to think where our monarchy would be today if Nazi sympathiser Edward the Eighth hadn’t abdicated to pursue his love affair with the American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
Because it’s odd to think the Queen wasn’t born into this role.
We’ll probably never see another Platinum Jubilee – so these four days matter.
Britain is back. The United Kingdom is independent and strong. Our great monarchy remains at the heart of our stable and successful political system.
But as the Queen enters her twilight years – and as you know I hope and pray she will reign for many decades more – there are significant challenges ahead.
Some of them have been made clear by our exclusive poll of thousands of UK citizens independently conducted by OnePoll this week.
Now, first and foremost, the Queen remains overwhelmingly the favourite member of the British family, ahead of Prince William and Kate, who are appropriately tied for second, and Prince Charles and Camilla, who are tied for third.
Given both couples are at the centre of the slimmed down monarchy we saw unveiled during today’s historic balcony appearance, that feels significant.
But some of the challenges facing the monarchy in the years ahead were emphasised by our poll of the least favourite member of the family.
Two figures tower above all others – disgraced Prince Andrew with 27 per cent and exiled Meghan with 18 per cent. Her husband Prince Harry – once the most popular member of the family – now the third least popular.
While Prince Andrew was left out of today’s official celebrations, there is much consternation amongst the British public about the return of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to the UK after their blistering criticism of the British monarchy since there decision to Megxit at the start of 2020.
A massive 54 per cent of people agree or strongly agree that there is a risk of reputational damage to the Royal Family from Harry and Meghan attending the jubilee, more than double the 22 per cent who disagree or strongly disagree.
Meanwhile, 57 per cent of people think Meghan and Harry will or might try and steal the limelight from the Queen at the Jubilee.
And 55 per cent say The Queen was right to ban the couple from the balcony. Just a quarter of Brits wanted her there.
Even more folk – two thirds of the country – believe the Queen was right to block her favourite son from making an appearance.
Almost three times as many people said Harry and Meghan should not be allowed to film Netflix content at the Jubilee (58 per cent said no, compared to 20 per cent who said yes).
And 32 per cent respondents said the drama of the Sussexes had made the Jubilee less enjoyable, with 40 per cent saying the same for Andrew.
Looking to the future in an unimaginable world where the Queen isn’t on the throne, there also look to be tougher times ahead for the heir to the throne Prince Charles.
More people think William will be a better king than Charles (77 per cent compared to 66 per cent).
And only 39 per cent approve of Queen Camilla compared to 58 per cent who approve of Queen Kate.
Could the Princess Diana effect impact Charles’ popularity?
It certainly seems so, given older age groups were much more enthusiastic about William being king than Charles.
In fact, there’s a real generational divide developing about how we see Britain, especially when it comes to the glorious Union Jack flag waving style of patriotism on display this weekend.
A shocking 40 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds – that’s the equivalent of two out of every five respondents – said it WAS appropriate to liken Jubilee decorations to Nazi Germany.
That compares to 18 per cent overall – hardcore Labour leftie Guardian readers, I imagine.
An equal 40 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds don’t think the Queen has been good, compared to just 8 per cent of 65 and overs.
Just 12 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds think the UK is not patriotic enough, compared to 33 per cent of those aged 65 and over.
Double the amount of 18 to 24 year olds think the UK is too patriotic compared to over 65s (14 per cent to seven per cent).
Now I would like to think as these rebellious youth grow up and naturally become more conservative, they’ll realise the importance of the monarchy to this great country.
So thank you, Ma’am, you have done all you can to leave the institution strong.
In fact, an overwhelming 83 per cent of us say you have done a good job over the course of your reign.
The challenge now is for Prince Charles and William to prove they can pick up the mantle and continue Queen Elizabeth the Second’s great work.