Article from the Tyne Valley Express

I am sure most of us wished the young couple well, but how many of us attended a street party as we did for the Royal Wedding of 1981? Prior to the Wedding the shops were full of Union Jacks and William and Catherine pottery, but the public was, on the whole, apathetic about holding a full-blown street party. It is slightly ironic that Catherine Middleton’s family made its fortune running “Party Pieces”!

Whilst the event was enthusiastically enjoyed by many, some simply used the additional Bank Holiday to spend time with their family or go shopping. Is it the end of the road for the Street Party and big community celebrations, I wonder?

Street parties started to become popular after the First World War with “Peace Teas” being held to celebrate the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Memorable parties were held n 1935 to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and indeed for the Queen’s coronation. In 1977, London alone staged 4000 street parties whereas less than 3000 applications were made for the whole country for April 29.

Samantha Cameron held one in Downing Street and her husband, with his belief in the “Big Society”, encouraged the public to disregard red tape and do something. But is it really that which stopped us Brits from bringing out the bunting? Was it Health and Safety rules or a feeling that the Royal Wedding was just an extravagance? Perhaps it was disillusionment with the Monarchy? Or just that in the twenty first century, there were too many other things out there that we were expected to celebrate?

I have written before about the commercialisation of Christmas and I can’t help feeling that the same applies to any number of events in the calendar. Easter, for example, is the most important date in the Church calendar but its significance has been lost under a mountain of chocolate eggs. There seem to be cards for every occasion, including “Congratulations on your Divorce” and weeks dedicated to any manner of things like National Pie Week. Enough is enough.

I suspect most of us took the time to watch the Royal Wedding on the TV and raise a glass to the young Windsor’s, but in a low-key manner. I enjoyed seeing the guests, observing “that amazing dress” and really do wish William and Catherine a long, happy marriage. The Royals do not have much of a track record there.

And I shall be interested to see what preparations are made to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. Will this justify bringing out the bunting? We’ll see. It was available at a knock-down price on April 30 at a store near you.