The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Is Already Controversial

The decision to hand out medals to certain royal family members is raising red flags.

queen platinum jubilee
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s a really big deal that Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee this year. The milestone, marking the monarch’s 70 years on the throne, is a first in British history, and parades, a four-day bank holiday, and tons of other events are planned throughout the year to honor her. But while things don’t officially kick off until February 6, the anniversary of the Queen assuming her title, the events are already sparking controversy for the royal family. 

The issue has to do with the tradition in which, during her Jubilee, the Queen awards medals to those who have served the crown. According to Express UK, there are nearly 400,000 medals that will be handed out this year. Among those receiving honors will be front-line healthcare workers, members of the royal household who have been in service for at least a year, and recipients of the George and Victoria Cross, the highest military honor in the country. Which all seems very nice!

But it’s the decision to reportedly present awards to members of the royal family that raised red flags for some spectators. In particular, the question of whether the Queen will give out medals to disgraced royal Prince Andrew and non-working royals Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has caused a stir. While the decision to give medals to Harry and Meghan seems pretty innocuous, especially since the Queen will reportedly pay for the medals to her own family herself rather than relying on British taxpayer money, it’s the one to Prince Andrew that seems to be behind one royal expert calling the Jubilee a “fiasco-in-the-making.”

In an opinion piece for News.com.au (as noted by Express), royal expert Daniela Elser questioned the choice to give out the medals to the lightning rod royals. “The symbolism of this move, that despite everything that has happened over the last two years Andrew, Harry and Meghan will all get the same official nods of thanks as frontline healthcare workers, is nothing short of disastrous," Elser wrote.

The Jubilee will likely see even more controversy as things move forward. Already there are concerns about what will happen during the Queen’s parade, when she traditionally stands on a balcony surrounded by members of the royal family. Whether that group will include Andrew, or even Harry and Meghan, is still in the air. 

Couple this major public celebration with the fact that Prince Harry’s reportedly fiery memoir has been slated for release later this year, and the news that the civil case brought against Prince Andrew will proceed, and 2022 is already shaping up to be a tricky year for the royals to navigate.