LONDON (Reuters) - Almost half of Britons believe Britain has changed for the worse during Queen Elizabeth’s 60-year reign but most think that celebrations to mark her sixth decade on the throne will be good for business and Britain’s character, a poll showed on Monday.
Huge crowds are expected to celebrate 86-year-old Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee next week, which is expected to be marked by a concert at Buckingham Palace, a procession through London and a 1,000-strong flotilla along the River Thames.
An ITV News/ComRes poll found that 47 percent of those surveyed thought that Britain was not as good a place as before her reign, and just over half said they would not go to a jubilee street party or other celebration.
The poll did not say how Britons felt their nation had changed for the worse. Elizabeth has presided over the demise of Britain’s once vast empire and many Britons are now feeling the squeeze of tough government spending cuts to tackle a big budget deficit.
However, 80 percent said the jubilee celebrations contribute to Britain’s reputation as a country with its own distinct character, and 65 percent said the event was good for the economy. Only 14 percent opposed Britain having a monarchy.
Despite her age, many commentators believe Elizabeth remains an important figurehead in Britain and beyond, a symbol of stability and service that has taken on added weight during straitened economic times.
The wedding of Prince William, the queen’s grandson, to Kate Middleton last year helped boost the monarchy’s popularity.
ComRes interviewed 2,056 British adults in the period of May 25-28.
Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Editing by Mark Heinrich