U.K. is marking Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee with parties, parades — and merch : NPR

Britain’s celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne now spans four days, a parade with 1,400 troops, a concert with Duran Duran, more than 16,000 street parties and a lot of merchandise.


Today is the second of four days which the United Kingdom has reserved to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II and her 70 years on the throne – in other words, the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.



There have already been parades and ceremonies, thousands of street parties are expected, and all of that has generated lots and lots of merchandise.

MAXIMILIAN SOMERSET: It was actually bespoke, made for me.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: How long ago did you get it?

SOMERSET: Oh, about three or four months ago. I got it specially for the occasion.

KELLY: Our London correspondent Frank Langfitt found Maximilian Somerset (ph) in a custom-made U.K. flag suit – with a color-changing waistcoat, obviously.

SOMERSET: I can change it red, white and blue, or the entire spectrum of the union jack.

CHANG: Anita Rider was also in the crowd, wearing a giant hair bow.

ANITA RIDER: And it’s an absolutely gigantic, massive…

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Union jack bow (laughter).

RIDER: …Union jack bow – put Betty Boop’s to shame. And my sister-in-law bought them from…



KELLY: Yeah. You can find a lot of Jubilee souvenirs online, ranging from a $2,500 music box to $50 leggings emblazoned with corgis.

CHANG: That’s right. The queen’s love for corgi dogs has inspired so much corgi merch, like corgi biscuits, corgi mousse cake, corgi pillows, corgi tea towels.

KELLY: Now, if corgis somehow are not your thing, there is also a limited-edition Queen Elizabeth II Barbie doll – if you can find it. It sold out within 3 seconds, according to British retailer John Lewis. Now, it’s available on eBay for 300 bucks.

ANNE MIDDLETON: I’m from Wales, I’m from Cardiff – so anything with either a union jack or a dragon, and I’ve been buying it, so – we all have.

CHANG: Our London producer spoke to Anne Middleton, who has been snatching up memorabilia and has also sourced a Jubilee outfit, from a bespoke dress down to her nails.

MIDDLETON: That was hand-painted – a crown – by one of my – my hairdresser. I thought they did a brilliant job.

KELLY: The Platinum Jubilee continues through Sunday, and plenty more themed merchandise will change hands – and nails – through then.


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