Continued from page 1

Palace officials are hoping this simple show of affection will be repeated on Tuesday when the festivities climax with another balcony appearance.

They have reason to be optimistic. Newspaper polls this week suggested that affection and appreciation for Elizabeth cut across all ages, social classes and political affiliations.

For many, she is a living link to the challenges and triumphs of World War II, when she was a young princess who helped with the war effort, even learning how to drive and service heavy vehicles with the Auxiliary Transport Service.

Her staying power is impressive. Elizabeth is the oldest person to reign over Britain, and only Queen Victoria, who took the throne at an earlier age, had a longer reign.

It is of course true that some are indifferent or hostile to the monarchy, with its vast inherited wealth and status, but few question the dedication or sincerity of the queen.

“She’s done a very good job,” said Jean Robson, a London retiree. “She works so very hard. The family’s had problems like every family, and she’s dealt with them very well.”

Robson said she and her family admire the royal family and its longtime role in the nation’s life.

“We’re very lucky to have them,” she said.

Others just feel good about the queen, even if they aren’t exactly sure what she does or what she’s really like.

“I personally like her, I think she’s like the nation’s grandma,” said Sarah Mills, a 27-year-old from York. “She seems like such a nice old lady. You can’t really know her though, can you?”

The queen, and the royal family, have benefited in the last few years by the newfound maturity of Prince William, who married the former Kate Middleton in a spectacular ceremony last year, and Prince Harry, who has put his partying days largely in the past as he focuses on a military career.

The young princes have stepped up their official duties, at times representing the queen abroad. Their natural flair has given what had been an aging monarchy a badly needed touch of cool.

This effect has been accentuated by the former Middleton, who has brought poise and fashion flair to her new position as the Duchess of Cambridge.

She has won raves for her ability to bring new pizazz to the royals, and her presence at the Jubilee festivities is expected to produce pictures and TV images that will be seen throughout the world.

But the Duchess of Cambridge is expected to make sure she does nothing to upstage the queen at the weekend events. She is likely to focus on honoring the queen, not making her own fashion statements or drawing attention to herself in any way.

Story Continues →