Commemorative mug plan to mark Diamond Jubilee

A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, by artist Darren Baker
A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, by artist Darren Baker
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A PORTSMOUTH portrait of the queen has been put forward as the ideal way to commemorate this year’s Diamond Jubilee.

If the proposal becomes a reality every child in the city could also receive their own mug bearing the image to celebrate the occasion.

But questions have been asked of whether the timing of the gesture – while much of the UK struggles with a double-dip recession – is appropriate.

Leader of the city council, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, said he has written to Buckingham Palace to suggest the idea.

He said: ‘I have written to the Queen to say that to commemorate the jubilee the council will commission a new portrait – a Portsmouth portrait.

‘And every school would get a copy so there is a physical reminder of the work the queen has done. We could have her painted with the view from Portsdown Hill in the background, or something like that.

‘I’m also looking to see if we could do a jubilee mug which could be given to every child in the city with the picture on it.

‘It would be fantastic to have a permanent reminder of the Queen’s connection with Portsmouth and our respect for what she has done.’

He added that the project would cost between £3,000 and £5,000 and could possibly be paid for using sponsorship.

But the city council’s Labour group leader, Cllr Jim Patey, said he thought it was important to think things through before rushing to make a grand gesture.

He said: ‘I’m a little bit concerned because at a time when so many people are going through a difficult time is the timing right for this?

‘I would only be happy if the money for this could be guaranteed not to come from services that people in the city need.

‘I can understand the thinking behind it, we are a patriotic city and very proud of our monarch, but that is not to say that we couldn’t find some other way to support the Queen’s jubilee.

‘We need to look at how much it would cost, how it would be paid for, and think about this in a cool and collected manner.’

Earlier this year, Tory education secretary Michael Gove came under fire for suggesting the Queen could be given a new royal yacht as part of the celebrations.

In a letter he wrote that it could be ‘a gift from the nation to her majesty’ because it was important to create ‘something tangible to commemorate this momentous occasion’.