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Popstars, Politicians Rally for Queen's Jubilee

Popstars, Politicians Rally for Queen's JubileeThe great and good of British pop and politics are being recruited to save the Queen's blushes during a Golden Jubilee year which royal officials are increasingly worried is going be a flop.

Superstar rock veterans Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney will join Prime Minister Tony Blair in trying to make the anniversary of her 50 years on the throne a celebration to remember.

Calls for Britons to take to the streets in support of the head of the royal family have been met with a wave of apathy in the early runup to the celebrations, which climax in early June.

Unflattering comparisons are already being made to the Silver Jubilee in 1977, when hundreds of thousands held local parties and lined routes along which Her Majesty toured.

A Blair spokesman sought to play down the concerns, pointing out on Sunday that there were "still 120 days to go."

But there are considerably fewer before the 50th anniversary of the death of the monarch's father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, after which she was proclaimed queen after rushing home from a tour of Kenya.

Weekend newspapers focused on Blair's role in the preparations, saying that it reflected worries in Downing Street over how the build-up was going.

Blair's spokesman confirmed the prime minister would make a statement this week giving "further details" of Jubilee plans, but insisted this was not due to concerns it would be a flop.

"The prime minister is firmly of the belief that the Golden Jubilee will be a great success," he said.

The details are likely to include plans for the Queen's tour of Britain, which the Sunday Times said could include Northern Ireland, Britain's troubled province across the Irish Sea.

ROCK CONCERT IN PALACE GARDENS

One of the highlights of the Golden Jubilee will be a rock concert held in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the Queen's London residence.

Coming to Her Majesty's aid will be pop legends including former Beatle McCartney, Rolling Stone Jagger and ex-Genesis drummer Phil Collins in a one-off show on June 3.

The Sunday Telegraph called the line-up of golden oldies "the world's greatest ever supergroup."

Guest singers including soul diva Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and Bryan Adams are also tipped to appear before more than 12,000 fans and all senior members of the royal family.

A younger British pop idol, Robbie Williams, and the more mature songster Elton John may also be in the lineup.

But it was not all good news for Her Majesty.

The Mail on Sunday reported over one third of local authorities will ignore the Golden Jubilee this summer.

Leading historian David Starkey told the Independent on Sunday that Britons simply do not know how to party any more.

In a further indignity for the Queen, the Royal National Theater in London is quietly dropping "Royal" from its logo in a move staff believe will boost audiences, the Observer said.

© Reuters, by Mike Collett-White

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