Platinum Jubilee: Camilla Tominey answers listeners’ questions
The UK Government is to send 4.5 million books commemorating Elizabeth’s reign to primary schools across Great Britain after signing a £12billion deal with publisher DK Books. Scotland is set to receive 400,000 copies with 387,000 versions in English for 1,897 schools and 7,200 in Gaelic for 108 primaries, according to the Scottish Daily Express.
The aim of the 80-96 page book is to make sure pupils, their families and school staff develop a “collective understanding of the Queen’s reign – the longest in Britain’s history.
Her Majesty became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the UK and Commonwealth.
In its contract with DK Books, UK ministers state: “The Jubilee itself will help communicate a narrative about modern Britain and its connections with the rest of the world, through local, community-driven events, including those led by schools, alongside national and Commonwealth events.
“The book will be a key part of this strategic aim, by ensuring that pupils, families, and teachers develop a collective understanding of the Queen’s reign, and by providing children with an appropriate legacy through personal ownership of this high-quality book.”
A row has broken out in Scotland about a book commemorating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Queen Elizabeth celebrates the start of the Platinum Jubilee during a reception at Sandringham.
The Government aims to send the books out to all primaries north of the border by June 20 with an extra book per 30 children enrolled in a primary to make sure no pupil misses out.
However, the plans have angered Scottish nationalists with Kenny MacAskill, MP for East Lothian and ALBA Party Depute Leader saying: “Education is devolved and the Department for Education in England should be told to keep their noses out of Scottish primary schools.
“In 1977 school children were given a commemorative 50p coin to mark the Silver Jubilee. Now the cheapskates in the English Department for Education are issuing propaganda booklets at taxpayers’ expense.
“The Scottish Government should be telling the Education bosses in Whitehall to get their tanks off their lawn not acquiescing in this sycophantic behaviour which disrespects the Devolution settlement.”
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Queen Elizabeth II cuts a cake to celebrate the start of the Platinum Jubilee
Former First Minister Alex Salmond poses with Kenny MacAskill (left).
However, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP, leader of the Scottish Lib Dems, slammed Mr MacAskill’s comments as “petty”.
He told the Scottish Daily Express: “Regardless of your opinions on the monarchy, the reign of Queen Elizabeth II is the most historically significant in the history of these islands.
“Her Majesty has just celebrated the first-ever Platinum Jubilee of any monarch in British history.
“I think it is entirely fitting that our children be equipped to learn about the significance of that in classrooms the length and breadth of the country.
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The cost of Scottish independence.
“Nationalist opposition to this feels petty and small-minded and if they’re frightened by a textbook, the case for independence must be even weaker than we thought.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said the UK Department for Education had responsibility for the book, its content and distribution.
A UK Government spokesman said the commemorative book for the Queen’s Jubilee is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth over the last 70 years.
He added: “The ambition for the book is to be inclusive and speak to all children across the UK and we have been working with the publisher and the Governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for feedback on drafts of the book.
Queen Elizabeth II stroking Candy, her Dorgi dog, as she looks at a display of memorabilia.
“It will not be a textbook for use in classes, but a chance to engage children in historic events during the Queen’s reign.”
The Queen is due to carry out a number of public engagements to mark her Platinum Jubilee year with the country also gearing up to celebrate.
She is expected to be seen in public with the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for the first time in months at the Commonwealth Service at Westminster Abbey on March 14.
Philip’s thanksgiving service on March 29 is likely to see large numbers of the royal family attending, alongside the duke’s friends, colleagues and representatives of organisations he supported – but central will be the Queen.
An extended four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend will begin on June 2 with Trooping the Colour, which will be staged in full for the first time since the pandemic.
A service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral the following day.
Other highlights include a day at the races for the Queen and her family, who will fill the royal box for the Derby, held at Epsom Downs on the Saturday. Later that day a star-studded concert will be staged from Buckingham Palace.
Communities across the country will sit down together for the Big Jubilee Lunch on the Sunday, the final day of the Bank Holiday weekend, and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant will also be held in the capital, featuring more than 5,000 people from across the UK and Commonwealth.
With additional reporting by Richard Percival