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The Platinum Jubilee: How Oxford Colleges are Celebrating

Thursday 2nd June to Sunday 4th June marks a four day bank holiday in commemoration of the Queen’s seventy years as sovereign  (the first British monarch to reach this milestone). A range of Platinum Jubilee are scheduled to take place across the University of Oxford during this time, with some having happened last weekend.

On a collegiate level, celebration of the Jubilee is varied. Some colleges have opted to celebrate traditionally with street parties, garden parties and picnics. Christ Church and Merton College hosted a free picnic for students on Sunday 29th May, while Oriel College held a Jubilee garden party with involved music, arts & crafts, and classic cream tea picnics.

Although not organised by the college itself, Wolfson is also promoting a street party at St Andrews Church on Sunday 5th June; the celebrations are set to involve stalls, a bouncy castle, and a bagpipes performance composed specially for the Queen by Sir Tim Hitchins (President of Wolfson College).

Other colleges are opting for more subtle celebrations. Exeter College is hosting a special Jubilee formal dinner of smoked venison and Queen of Puddings on Saturday 4th June. Similarly, Brasenose College has organised a Royal Exhibition, which will open on Thursday 2nd June and will run for a week. 

The Oxford Student Union has also marked the occasion by launching The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Student Carbon Reduction Challenge, “to champion excellence in student-led innovation to accelerate the decarbonisation of UK universities and help the sector towards net zero.” Submissions for this initiative closed on 29th May 2022 and the selected winners will receive support and funding to trial their ideas.

Do Students Care About The Jubilee?

When polling Oxford students for their opinion on colleges hosting jubilee celebrations, The Oxford Blue received a wide range of opposing answers, with one student commenting: “the jubilee is worthwhile to celebrate, whoever you are. Even if you feel absolutely no sense of admiration for the Queen or if you hate her, really it’s just a nice excuse for colleges to get together and celebrate something.”

On the other hand, a second student told The Blue that “the monarchy has persisted on the rewards of colonisation and exploitation. The monarch is not worth celebrating in a cost-of-living crisis, especially amongst the recent disclosures of Prince Andrew’s behaviour. Even if it can be claimed to be a simple welfare event, why are we doing it in the name of the Queen?”

Beyond this, a significant percentage of responses received by The Blue were ambivalent, with three  students commenting, “I don’t care”. This sentiment seemingly coincides with the results of a recent YouGov poll that indicated that 54% of British people are ‘not interested’ in the platinum jubilee.