Tuning into the jubilee

In celebration of the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the Royal Commonwealth Society hosted a party on the airwaves – its live broadcast encouraged a freewheeling debate among listeners across the United Kingdom and around the world.

On the eve of the Diamond Jubilee cel­ebrations in London, the Royal Com­monwealth Society (RCS) hosted a Commonwealth Jubilee Party at its his­toric headquarters on Northumberland Avenue. The party was attended by RCS members, London’s Commonwealth dip­lomatic corps and two former secretaries-general, as well as the current holder of that office, Kamalesh Sharma, and was broadcast live to tens of millions of peo­ple on the BBC World Service talkback programme, World Have Your Say.

Guests joined listeners from around the world in discussing the relevance of both Queen and Commonwealth. In between musical interludes by Ruby and the Vines front-woman Binisa Bon­ner and cellist and jazz vocalist Ayanna Witter-Johnson, the debate raged – on the airwaves, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Some key thoughts voiced during the two-hour broadcast:

I think everyone should go out and celebrate a woman [the Queen] who has shown tenacity, who has shown commitment and who has shown dedication to something she believes in.

Baroness Floella Benjamin, former children’s TV presenter

I like the Queen and the Jubilee, but as Jamaicans, nothing has been offered to us, there are many restrictions on our travelling. What’s the benefit for us to be in the Commonwealth really these days?

Sandra, emailing from Jamaica

Where the Commonwealth can add value is in dialogue. We’re in the pursuit of equality here… what the Commonwealth needs to do if it is to survive in the 21st century is make a difference by bring­ing people to closer agreement.

Danny Sriskandarajah, Director of the RCS


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