Supermarket giants including Tesco and Sainsbury’s have led angry calls for the Royal Family to ‘stop fannying about for the Jubilee’ after news emerged that 40 fully-stocked supermarkets have been left unopened for months.
‘We’ve been continuing to expand our operations across the United Kingdom,’ said Tesco chief executive Philip Clarke. ‘But since this Diamond Jubilee nonsense started, we’ve been left with 17 stores ready to go but unopened because the Royals are all booked up reading the weather or dancing with Usain Bolt in Jamaica.’
The backlog also includes 12 new Sainsbury’s stores, five branches of Asda, and two further branches of Tesco completed since you started reading this article. Tim Stevenson, the Lord Lieutenant of Oxfordshire, launched an unprecedented attack on the Royal Family for causing the delays. ‘If the Duchess of Cornwall would stop wasting time with osteoporosis sufferers and launching boats, then the good people of Bicester wouldn’t have to wait so long for their eighth branch of Tesco Metro,’ he said.
There are concerns among senior supermarket industry figures that the monarchy shows ‘no sign’ of getting back to its usual routine until at least after the Olympic Games. ‘We’re petitioning the Queen to at least allocate one of the minor Royals, perhaps the Countess of Wessex, to full-time supermarket-opening duties for six months so we can fix the problem,’ Clarke said. ‘But we’re not hopeful – last time we left a message with the Royal Household it took them six months to get back to us to say ‘can you deliver the gin round the back, and no substitutions on the Dubonnet please.’ It wasn’t very helpful.’