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Queen's desserts

Will this be another annus horribilis for the Queen? Her sister has died, her mother is frail and enthusiasm for her Golden Jubilee is as lukewarm as milky tea.

Only a minority of schools and local education authorities have organised anniversary events and few schoolchildren, it seems, will be presented with the traditional, commemorative mugs. Republicans will welcome this as a sign that Britain has finally shaken off its imperialist and feudal past (100 years ago village children were still being granted days off school to celebrate their squire's wedding).

But even those who would not dream of buying a royalist teapot or waving the Union Jack may feel that the Queen's 50 years of public service merit some recognition. Other members of her family have brought the monarchy into disrepute but the Queen has remained an important national symbol and an excellent ambassador. Schools should not underestimate her significance.

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