‘It means a lot to us’: Mall campers endure downpours for view of jubilee pageantry | queen’s platinum jubilee

With 24 hours to go until the pageantry of the Queen’s platinum jubilee begins at Buckingham Palace, tents could be seen lining the Mall on Wednesday morning.

“We’re here for one thing only: Her majesty the Queen,” said John Loughrey, 67, from London, who was among the first to pitch his tent on Monday, in a bid to get the best possible view of the monarch passing in a golden carriage and later waving from the balcony alongside her family over the jubilee bank holiday weekend.

While the previous night had been “dreadful”, with rain and freezing temperatures, it did little to dampen his spirits. Loughrey has camped out many times before: for the births of Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

This celebration, however, is different. “It’s the Queen’s day, no one else’s,” Loughrey said, looking at his friend Ella Maria Scott, 51, who is camping with her 21-year-old daughter from Newcastle.

Scott said her daughter has been teased for being a royalist in a generation much less occupied with the royal family. She recalled a friend posting a photo of how much money was being spent on the jubilee alongside an image of a hungry child.

“I get it, I do get it, but I love this,” added Scott. “I love the monarchy, it’s wonderful, people around the world would love the monarchy. When you see other countries and how they’re running things, and how we are with the monarchy, I really would prefer this.”

Mary-Jane Willows and Donna Warner camping out in the Mall. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

Others see the monarchy as not just a unifying force of stability spanning the post-second world war era, but as a symbol of a generation’s values ​​they hope are not lost.

“My dad served in the British army,” said Liz Bird, 62, who was setting up folding chairs in her rainwear with her friend Sue Douse. “She represents that generation for me, someone who is steadfast and loyal.”

For Douse, 62, the Queen symbolizes their parents’ generation’s stoic attitude, which she hopes will survive. “I think that in the world of individualism, she just stands for so much – that duty and caring for others. We feel very strongly about that sort of culture and that those values, so that means a lot to us,” added Douse.

The last few years have not been easy ones for Britain’s monarchy. Most recently, the Queen cast out her Prince Andrew from royal and military duties over his sexual assault case. In a Caribbean tour marking the platinum jubilee, Prince William was met with calls from Jamaica, Belize and the Bahamas for reparations for the slave trade and for the countries to become republics.

But no such cynicism or disapproval was expressed by those camping out on the Mall.

“I’ve just always loved British history and the queen, the monarchy in particular,” said Donna Warner, who flew over from Connecticut on Saturday to join her friend Mary-Jane Willows, from Cornwall. The two, sitting in front of “Your number one American fan” signs affixed to a chain fence, first met at William and Kate’s wedding in 2011.

“I’m just so lucky to live in this day and age where I can witness this. Probably she will go down in history as one of the best queens ever,” added Warner. “She’s done a marvelous job for 70 years. And I just wanted to be here to thank her and show my respect for her. ”

Warner added: “If I have the money, I’d love to come back for the Queen’s 100th birthday.”

Child stands on man's shoulders to look over fence
A family took a peek over the metal hoardings surrounding Buckingham Palace. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

For Canadians Patrick and Angie Hart, camping outside the palace with their children, the platinum jubilee was a bucket-list event.

“We feel great to represent Canada,” said Angie, 51. The family came prepared with chairs and ponchos emblazoned with Canadian flags, but purchased a tent after enduring rain and hail. “We’re part of the Commonwealth,” she added. “Canada should be proud and want to celebrate and honor the Queen.”

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