“SO we’re celebrating a multi-millionaire with a life of luxury, while people in this country are living off food banks,” was my teenage nephew’s take on the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

He doesn’t see the point of the Royal family - “The French had the right idea,” he says - and with ordinary working people struggling to meet the rising cost of living, I get his drift.

But Vive la République? I wouldn’t go that far.

Today we’re going to see toadying on an industrial scale, as media coverage of the Platinum Jubilee reaches competitive levels of bowing and scraping. I quite enjoy a bit of pomp and ceremony, and I feel a sense of pride that our country has all that history and heritage. But I’m also slightly queasy about the tugging of forelocks at a family who by pure chance were born into immense wealth and privilege and are so far removed from reality they might as well be living on the Moon.

What exactly is the point of the Royal family? I’m not really sure. It’s a bit like religion for me: I’m not a church-goer, but I’d like to believe in something. And although I don’t think of myself as a Royalist, I wouldn’t want to live in a Republic.

Whenever I watch Royal events like weddings and Jubilee celebrations on TV, I feel quite proud, even moved, that Britain can put on such a show because “nobody does it quite like we do.” I’m interested in the history of royalty, and I love a royal palace. I have a Kensington Palace magnet on my fridge - does that make me a Royalist? A Republican might argue that technically, the palace belongs to the people...

Royalty has always been a soap opera, with colourful, eccentric characters. Apart from the Queen, who is living history and has reigned with remarkable stamina and dignity, current royals seem a bit dull in comparison. And the hangers-on - the Princess Nobodies, lords, ladies, earls, countesses and chinless wonders - are surely irrelevant these days.

As a child I waved a flag when the Queen came to town (although she arrived in a car, not a gold carriage, which was a let-down) and I worked my way through Girl Guides to become a Queen’s Guide. I still have my certificate from the Queen.

But I had a healthy disregard for royalty too, thanks to my dad who had no time for the royals and thought they were ridiculous. He spent Charles and Diana’s wedding washing the car, oblivious to the giddiness sweeping the nation.

It’s complex, our relationship with the royal family. We feel like we know them, some people feel genuine affection for them, others can’t stand them, yet we’d probably be lost without them. They’re an industry - a “firm” as the Queen called the institution.

Whether we spend today scoffing sausage rolls in a Union Jack hat or just washing the car, we’re united by the social history of the Queen’s 70-year reign. What fascinates me most are the reflections of ordinary people on that changing world. Our readers have been sharing lovely memories of street parties and the Coronation; crowded into a neighbour’s sitting-room to watch television for the first time, filling scrapbooks with magazine cut-outs of the young queen. The boy who turned his three-wheeler bike into a ‘royal carriage’ and the girl who came last in a Jubilee fancy dress parade. And the teenager who defiantly cranked up the volume of his Sex Pistols LP in the summer of ‘77. These are the moments we remember, when all the pomp and pageantry is long gone.