London is ready to party

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ywhere you turned yesterday there seemed to be rows and rows of festive flags of red, white and blue appearing in place for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

People strolling along Oxford Street could hardly fail to notice the abundance of bunting, crowns and token corgis on display as retailers clamour to lure customers in with royally British merchandise.

There were union jacks hanging from windows of council blocks in Old Street, on the fringes of the City, and the front of the fashionable South Kensington nightclub Boujis was adorned by a giant Union Jack (see picture lower right). Leadenhall Market (pictured upper right) was also displaying two large flags.

Britons are expected to spend £823m celebrating Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne, nearly double what they spent on last year’s royal wedding, with 32 per cent planning to buy snacks, drinks and decorations to mark the occasion according to research by online comparison website moneysupermarket.com.

“After a battering from bad weather and household finances squeezed by low wage growth and high inflation, retailers are looking for a much-needed boost,” said British Retail Consortium economist Richard Lim.

Tesco, the world’s third-largest retailer, has already sold 93,000 paper crowns and tiaras, 1,5000 miles of bunting and 400,000 Jubilee mugs. And thousands of schoolchildren will be finishing up for half-term today, having made flags, cakes and other paraphenalia in preparation for the four-day celebration.

Have a good extra-long weekend and see you next Wednesday.