With only a month to go until the Jubilee celebrations, Buckingham Palace yesterday revealed that the plan for a 1000-strong flotilla on the Thames has been axed.
Following the surprise announcement, a Palace spokesman commented: “Now that we are entering a double-dip recession it seemed only right that the Jubilee celebrations should be scaled back. The Queen is very much of the opinion that as we’re all in it together the Royal Family should be seen to acknowledge the harsh economic climate in which this party will take place.”
However, the artist’s impression that has been released is dividing opinion, with the most vociferous criticism coming from The Society for Flag Waving Patriots. Chairman Jonathan Brittan said: “We’ve been looking forward to this Jubilee since the last one, and our members can’t believe that we’ll have to stand by the Thames cheering a banana boat instead of an elegant flotilla. All that taxpayers' money is being spent on the Olympics, but we should be spending it on the Queen. It’s a disgrace.”
Banana boat manufacturers have reacted positively and the industry expects sales to soar, with insiders already expressing concerns about shortages. Newquay businessman Roger Bellows, who runs a seafront shop said: “Small inflatables like rubber rings, lilos and armbands for kids always sell well in the summer season, but banana boats are more niche. The beauty of the banana boat is that it’s impossible not to have fun on one, so once the whole country has seen the Royals on theirs people will be rushing out to buy one of their own.”
In response to the suggestion that the new proposal looks ‘cheap’, a senior Palace press officer claimed that “it actually represents the bargain hunting mentality we should all be adopting, and will showcase to the world that the British monarchy is up for a laugh in these gloomy times.”