A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News. Delivered to your inbox on Fridays.
Leading the week
The week is of course dominated by the Platinum Jubilee celebrations as Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first British monarch to mark 70 years on the throne. The festivities begin on bank holiday Thursday (June 2) with the Trooping the Colour ceremony, the release of the Queen’s Birthday Honours , and the lighting of the Platinum Jubilee beacons, with Brits also given the opportunity to raise a tipple long into the night as licensing hours are temporarily extended. Friday brings with it another bank holiday and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, before the Queen steps out to enjoy her milestone at the Epsom Derby on Saturday.
Senior royals will attend celebratory events across the UK over the course of the weekend, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visiting Wales, the Earl and Countess of Wessex heading to Northern Ireland, and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex expected at events in the capital along with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall (fresh from a special Jubilee episode of EastEnders). Amid the celebrations, there will be a renewed focus on the future of the monarchy, with The Queen likely to attend fewer events than initially planned and the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge taking a more prominent role.
The Jubilee year hasn’t been all positive PR, from Prince Andrew’s legal troubles to protests during the family’s visits abroad, and the presence of Prince Harry and Meghan – attending, but not featured alongside the working royals – is already generating coverage focused more on ‘upset’ and ‘snubs‘ than on the potential for renewed family harmony. As The Queen has wound down her public appearances due to health and mobility issues, getting past the main Jubilee celebrations may allow more room to ask the big question: what’s next?
A much more sombre mood across the pond, where the massacre at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, is set to continue dominating the news this week. Eighteen-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two teachers on May 24, less than two weeks after Payton Gendron, also 18, was charged with killing 10 people in a racist attack at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, pushing gun control and second amendment rights back into the spotlight.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will visit Uvalde on Sunday (May 29) to meet with the families of the victims as well as community and religious leaders and call on the Senate to pass gun control legislation. Funerals for at least some of those killed are likely this week, with both Uvalde’s funeral homes having announced they are offering services free of charge.
Despite mounting pressure to act, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has postponed any legislative action until Congress reconvenes following the Memorial Day recess (June 6), in the hopes of striking a bipartisan deal. Though there are a handful of Republicans who have expressed willingness to negotiate, reaching the 60 necessary votes may still turn out to be unattainable. On Friday (June 3), hundreds of protests will take place across the country to mark Gun Violence Awareness Day. The activity will continue into the weekend, when people are encouraged to wear orange to honor those who have been killed by gun violence.
Leaders from the European Union gather in Brussels on Monday (May 30) for a special two-day summit focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The agenda includes the bloc’s continued support for Ukraine, bolstering cooperation on security and defence, food security, and phasing out the EU’s dependency on Russian energy. This last point has been particularly contentious, given the failure so far to overcome Hungarian opposition to the embargo on Russian oil that was supposed to be included in the sixth sanctions package, though Slovakia and the Czech Republic have also expressed reservations. Hungary’s combative premier Viktor Orbán, who was comfortably re-elected in April to a fourth consecutive term as leader, has a long history of antagonising Brussels across a range of issues, from his treatment of migrants, to corrupt use of EU funds, to the erosion of judicial and media freedoms in the country.
Orbán is also notable for his close relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and openly criticised EU sanctions when he visited Moscow at the start of February while noting that ‘Hungary always got respect from Putin’. At the time of writing, it remains unlikely that a breakthrough on the sanctions package will be achieved at next week’s summit, though there are reports of a possible solution involving an initial embargo on sea-borne Russian oil that would shield landlocked Hungary, which receives its Russian oil via the Druzhba pipeline. Of course, appearing to make excessive concessions to Hungary to secure its backing carries its own risks, not least that it might encourage other EU members to threaten vetoes to secure their own desired outcomes.