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Queen’s Diamond Jubilee brings joy and complaints

Christopher Werth Jun 4, 2012

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee brings joy and complaints

Christopher Werth Jun 4, 2012

Kai Ryssdal: Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations — 60 years on the throne — continue, should you have missed the 1,000-boat flotilla on the River Thames yesterday. The queen’s throwing a garden party tonight, complete with a concert outside Buckingham Palace. Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and Elton John are just some of the stars performing.

How all the partying’s going over at a time of renewed austerity in the U.K.? Christopher Werth has the story from London.

Christopher Werth: It’s not always pretty, but it’s pretty much everywhere in London right now — the strains of the British national anthem reaching every corner of the capital. An estimated one million people came here yesterday to watch the queen float by. To recover, the entire country has an extra day off today.

David Kern, an economist with the British Chambers of Commerce, says that’s going to hurt the British economy.

David Kern: In the current quarter, growth will be flat.

Flat just as Britain has slipped into a double dip recession. Extra days off are projected to cost the country as much as $3.5 billion. But Justin Urquhart-Stewart of Seven Investment Managements says that doesn’t take into account the benefits of a little merrymaking.

Justin Urquhart-Stewart: We tend to forget that holidays do have a positive impact on productivity.

People feel good, he says, and they go spend a little money. The Queen’s Jubilee is expected to give hotels and other tourism industries a $1.4 billion boost.

Londoner Nigel Hutchinson is celebrating, and says he’s happy to do his part.

Nigel Hutchinson: In times of recession, we are in a time when we actually need some enjoyment in our lives. So I would say long live Great Britain, long live Queen Elizabeth, long live the Great British Monarchy.

But not everyone feels that way. Several people turned out in London yesterday to protest a royal family that costs taxpayers about $49 million a year.

Anti-royalist Louise Radici.

Louise Radici: At a time when there’s a growing gap between rich and poor, it is outrageous that a family has this much prestige. If the royal family and the very rich in this country paid their fair share of taxes, there wouldn’t be the growing number of poor that we have in this country now.

Radici says instead of a queen, she’d like to vote for a democratically elected president just like people do in the United States.

In London, I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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