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Give us a bank holiday for the Queen's jubilee

The Queen is celebrating 65 years on the throne and MPs have been debating whether or not there should be a bank holiday for her Sapphire Jubilee.

It’s 65 years since the Queen ascended to the throne, in 1952. It means she’s celebrating her Sapphire Jubilee this year - and that’s quite an achievement, because she’s the first British monarch to reach this milestone.

MPs have been debating just what to do about it.

Apparently, the Queen herself doesn’t want a fuss.

There were celebrations for her Silver Jubilee in 1997, Golden Jubilee in 2002 and Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

But this time around, there’s been little to mark the occasion beyond commemorative coins from the Royal Mint, some blue stamps from the Royal Mail and an official portrait issued by Buckingham Palace, which shows the Queen wearing a sapphire necklace.

According to the people at the Palace, the theory is that the public will get a bit sick of jubilees if you have too many of them. Far better to focus on the really big ones, and mark the minor anniversaries in a low-key way.

So the next big celebrations will be in 2022, when the Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee - that’s 70 years on the throne - at the age of 96.

Perhaps Her Majesty is happy to wait another five years, but some MPs believe that the British public deserves a day off before that.

Tory Andrew Rosindell proposed legislation which would give us all an extra bank holiday this year.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip visit Birmingham. 24th May 1963.

He argues that the Queen unifies the country.

And he told the House of Common: “One weekend in June could be designated ‘sapphire jubilee weekend’ with an additional bank holiday immediately afterwards, which could be a national day for a thanksgiving service.”

A number of MPs backed him - including Labour MP Kate Hoey and Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb, so it’s not just Tories who love our Queen.

There was also opposition. Labour MP Liz McInnes, a Shadow Minister, opposed the idea om the grounds that some people, such as NHS staff, have to work on bank holidays, and it wasn’t clear what would happen to them.

But she proposed an interesting solution, and suggested there should simply be an extra bank holiday every year - taking the number from eight to nine - which would be used to celebrate whatever special event seems most appropriate each year.

British people have taken part in some pretty fierce debates in recent years, on topics such as Brexit and Scottish independence. Sometimes, tempers have frayed a little.

And whatever your views on Brexit, it’s fair to say the future seems uncertain.

So a holiday and a national celebration that brings the nation together may be no bad thing.

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