How nice to see a new photograph of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter, named Lilibet after the nickname given to the young Princess Elizabeth by her grandfather King George V when she couldn’t pronounce her own name properly. Lilibet Diana has clearly inherited the Spencer red hair and blue eyes and her smile reveals she has at least six baby teeth.
The Queen’s 11th great-grandchild celebrated her first birthday with friends of the family at Frogmore Cottage on the Saturday of the jubilee weekend. Harry and Meghan flew five-and-a-half-thousand miles from California with Lilibet and three-year-old Archie for their five-day stay. They were criticised for the hypocrisy of using a private jet for such a long journey while being keen environmentalists, but it seems likely they decided it was the safest way of travelling with their entourage and that they would offset their carbon emissions.
Harry was able to introduce Lilibet to her great-grandmother for the first time when they met for tea on the first day of the jubilee celebrations. Reports suggest that the Sussexes had wanted their photographer to record the historic moment but it was considered wise to keep the meeting private.
The success of the platinum jubilee weekend was enhanced by the fact that after two years of pandemic lockdowns the public were longing for a collective celebration that was essentially British. Patriotic fervour and an outpouring of love for the Queen echoed throughout the land as so many watched on television, took part in local celebrations or enjoyed being part of an enthusiastic crowd at one of the spectacular events. The Platinum Party at the Palace on the Saturday night, which Joe Little and I were fortunate to attend, is the most watched TV programme of the year so far, according to the BBC, with a peak viewing figure of 13.4 million.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posted their thanks via Twitter and, acknowledging the delightful photographs of their youngest child that had appeared across the world, wrote: ‘We all had an incredible time, especially Louis.’
The Queen poignantly said that she was ‘humbled and deeply touched’ by the reaction of the British people to the celebrations even though there was ‘no guidebook to follow as to how to mark a platinum jubilee’. Once again she confirmed her dedication to duty, even in her 97th year. ‘While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all,’ she wrote, ‘and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family’.
As well as her close family working hard to make it a success, those who are not part of the ‘working’ royal family did so too. Prince Michael of Kent – who is 80 on 4 July – was not on the balcony with his siblings the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra, but he and his wife Marie Christine attended the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and the concert outside Buckingham Palace too.