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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Queen's Subjects Loyal on Golden Jubilee's Eve

LONDON -- When Elizabeth II inherited the British throne in 1952, movie audiences were expected to stand for "God Save the Queen," and royal privacy was closely guarded.

Today, she and her family are regularly pilloried in the press, any tourist with $16 can get into Buckingham Palace, and the details of her children's marital disasters are global press fodder.

Yet as she marks the 50th anniversary of her reign Wednesday, the queen can take comfort in an opinion poll indicating two-thirds of her subjects think highly of her and her family.

Often criticized in the press as remote, cold and unfeeling, the queen has always managed to hold the support of most of the country. Her approval rating rises and falls, but does not stay down for long.

That does not mean the monarchy does not have its critics, and plans for the queen's golden jubilee celebrations have prompted the latest round of objections.

"In 2002, we're uninspired by our politicians, disillusioned by the Windsors and ashamed of our public services. So we truly don't feel in a flag-waving mood," wrote Lynda Lee-Potter, gossip columnist for the mass-circulation Daily Mail, normally a supporter of the monarchy.

"The whole idea of golden jubilee celebrations is out of date," groused Roy Hattersley, former deputy leader of the Labour Party and a longtime opponent of monarchy. "It is part of the myth of Merrie England," he wrote in The Guardian newspaper.

But the monarchy has managed to change a little, too.

The queen has a web site, pays income tax and has taken most of her relatives off the public payroll. The huge Royal Yacht Britannia was retired in 1997 and the queen travels occasionally on scheduled trains rather than gearing up the royal train. She has let it be known that it is no longer necessary to bow and curtsy when you meet her.

But doing away entirely with the monarchy is an idea that never gets very far with the public.

A MORI opinion poll published last week found 48 percent of young people were more interested in the lives of "The Simpsons" on television than in the royal family; 55 percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed in December thought the royals were extravagant, and 70 percent said they were "out of touch."

Still, 70 percent of the respondents wanted to keep the monarchy and two-thirds rated the queen and her family as hardworking and highly respected. Eighty percent said they were important to Britain.

When the 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth succeeded her father, Britain's war wounds were just beginning to heal. Years of destruction and death, austerity and food rationing had left the country hungry for a better future.

Elizabeth proved every bit as dutiful as her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, who were presented as a model of domestic virtue and helped steady the nation after the shocking abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII, to marry the American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

This facade of perfect domesticity, doomed to crumble in an age of telephoto lenses and checkbook journalism, crashed to earth in the terrible 1990s, when the love lives of the royal offspring hit the headlines.

Now, some national newspapers say people don't care enough about the queen to hold the street parties that everyone expects. Some even say the jubilee planners have badly organized the whole thing.