Images of Queen Elizabeth II were projected onto Stonehenge: tacky & offensive?

Stonehenge is one of the most famous sites in the UK and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Druids and pagans claim Stonehenge as theirs, and they liken the site to a church. The layout of the massive stones is astrological in nature and related to the solstice. So… they decided to project images of Queen Elizabeth onto Stonehenge as part of the Platinum Jubbly. QEII is the head of the Church of England. People are mad!

The comments under that tweet are priceless. Some of my favorites: “Something ancient and now pointless that we keep under the guise of tourism, projected onto stone henge” and “Pointless, outdated, ancient monument to a bygone era. Projected onto Stonehenge.” This comment was also pretty interesting: “Conflating a modern British monarch – and everything they represent in the current political environment – with ancient societies who in no way acknowledged any of the political boundaries we currently live with is a disservice to public history. Plays into some ugly narratives.” People obviously found it tacky, classless, offensive to pagans, offensive to British taxpayers who are footing the bill for this stupid Jubbly celebration.

Embed from Getty Images

Photos courtesy of Getty, Avalon Red, Instar and Backgrid.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

95 Responses to “Images of Queen Elizabeth II were projected onto Stonehenge: tacky & offensive?”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. 809Matriarch says:

    Personally – I think it is tacky and very creepy.

  2. Merricat says:

    Definitely tacky. Like, offensively tacky, as in Kate’s Kiss of the Spider Woman outfit for Philip’s funeral service tacky.

  3. OriginalLaLa says:

    my god, the amount of money and resources being wasted for this stupid Jubbly – you’d think The BRF could read the room, pare down the extravagances, and maybe use that money for the public good? #AbolishTheMonarchy

    • Sue E Generis says:

      Even one relatively small act of generosity would go a long way to counteract the oblivious narrative. But they can’t even manage to do that. They are completely disconnected from the real world.

    • HeyKay says:

      Amen 1000X.
      Original Lala, you have hit the nail on the head!

    • Christine says:

      Yep. BP had to sign off on this, and not one person said, “Our country is struggling, this is not a good idea.”

  4. MaryContrary says:

    Stonehenge is an icon of Britain and she’s the Queen? I’m not a fan of the monarchy in this day and age but I’m not really seeing what the big offense is here.

    • Maggie says:

      It was a site for solstice celebrations used by a peaceful group that was persecuted, massacred and marginalized by Britain and its monarchy. It was considered an extermination. Can you now figure out why it is insensitive, offensive and obscene?

      • C says:

        The monarchy did something insensitive and offensive? Must be a day that ends in Y.

      • Rose says:

        Sorry, but this is just inaccurate. The folks that were around when Christianity first came to Britain, with the Romans, did not build Stonehenge. Also, the conversion of Britain to Christianity took a very long time and was, largely, not a case of massacring anyone who refused to convert.

      • MeganC says:

        Stonehenge was built 5,000 years ago. The Druids existed between the first and seventh century BCE were persecuted, but were not connected in anyway to Stonehenge. 18th Druid revivalists, who had no connection to ancient druids, connected themselves to the site. It was most likely built as a burial site and was co-opted by the later revivalist movement that had no historical claim to the site.

      • Bumbles says:

        Rose, the Romans exterminated anyone who did not convert to Christianity and their misogynic ideals as quickly as they found them. It didn’t take a very long time. They were on a war path when they were expanding they’re empire into Britain. They massacred any Druids they could find.

      • Rose says:

        @Bumbles, so when the Romans first arrived in Britain (around 43 CE) the Empire was not Christian. The Romans do arrive in Britain on a war path, in that they were there to conquer the land. Pretty much all we know about the druidic practices is from the Romans, so there is a lot of debate about how to interpret these accounts. The Romans do seem to have passed laws to suppress druidic practice and, although the exact form that took is uncertain, it wasn’t mass extermination.

        Christianity was introduced to Britain under the Romans, but that didn’t happen until long after the conquest. There are three bishops in England by the fourth century, so we’ve got some religious organisation of the Christian community, but this isn’t a forced conversion. Christianity in these Isle also declines after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, particularly when a bunch of non-Christian Germanic blokes turn up and put themselves in charge (around the fifth century). You then get a new wave of efforts to convert folks from the sixth century and this goes on well into the seventh century. While there are definitely moments of violence and this does seem to be something of a top down conversion, i.e. a missionary convinces a king that Christianity is a good shout or a Christian princess is married to a non-Christian king, then the king gets his court baptised, and so on down the chain. For the kings, there are a lot of benefits to Christianity: access to literacy, closer ties to Christian kingdoms on the Continent, an structure that emphasised a ‘one guy at the top’ model, as well as a pretty compelling religious narrative. For everyone else, well, it tends to be a good idea to keep in step with the folks in power and Christianity does have some pretty compelling messaging re ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’ etc.

        If you want to learn more about any of this, Wikipedia is a great place to start. I would say that, in general, these things are rarely totally black and white.

    • Christine says:

      This is a religious site for people that aren’t the queen, that’s the problem. After disastrous “tours” to “solidify the commonweath” told the British monarchy they weren’t interested in cultural appropriation, or the royals, they have just dug in and doubled down. I’m sure they thought there weren’t all that many people practicing, so it didn’t matter.

      Thus, the queen just road in the back of a Landrover through holy grounds that aren’t her religion.

      This family is so fcuking stupid.

      ETA: I can’t get over how dumb they are. Stone circles are more sacred to fans of Outlander than this group of idiots.

    • SMS says:

      Bumbles- The Druids were suppressed by Romans shortly after their conquest of Britain but those Romans were emphatically not Christians. It was one pagan religion replacing another. Christianity existed in a minor way during the Roan occupation but only after the Druid’s religion had disappeared from written records.

  5. Alexandria says:

    Somebody actually asked if Andrew was going to be projected onto Pizza Express in Woking 😐

    • ThatsNotOkay says:

      Maybe not. But he’ll project himself right onto your teenage daughter if you take your eyes off her for one minute.

    • Christine says:

      I feel like there could be an endorsement for Pedo with Build a Bear?

  6. Digital Unicorn says:

    Was it tacky – yes, unnecessary – yes but offensive – no. What’s offensive is her current gov – she should sack the lot of them!!!

  7. Amy Bee says:

    Yeah it was tacky and offensive.

  8. KBeth says:

    So tacky! Who thought this was a good idea??

  9. Muggs says:

    Big colonizer energy. At least it’s on brand for them.

    • Maggie says:

      Agree! Maybe the old bat is playing some sort of terrible colonizer bingo and this just cinched the win

    • Christine says:

      This. They just can’t grow a few brain cells and get out of their own way.

  10. Lizzie says:

    unpopular opinion – I thought it was pretty cool.

  11. lunchcoma says:

    Tacky, yes. I don’t know about offensive. It wouldn’t be the first time Stonehenge has been used in a tacky way.

    From the response on Twitter to that plus what’s apparently a bunch of schools asking kids to dress up like members of the royal family, it seems like the Jubilee is getting on some people’s nerves, though? Which I can understand, especially for people who are small r republicans or who aren’t English.

    • Jay says:

      I hated school spirit days, so this idea is just terrifying.

      Also, given their thin skin, I’m not sure the royal family could take it if British people decided to draw attention to the more notorious or embarrassing figures in their history. George III? Charles II? Henry Viii? Oliver Cromwell? I would absolutely been the little sh!t who dressed up as Cromwell.

      Knowing the British often have a wry sense of humour about these things, maybe we’ll see some dressed as Harry and Meghan or Disney princesses instead.

      • lunchcoma says:

        Oh, people are having fun with it! There was a Boudica, and a child dressed as a striking coal miner.

      • C says:

        Those notorious figures from history have always more or less been talked about. The BBC went down a big theatrical route in the 1970’s as part of a way to “educate” the British public about the figures in their history such as Henry VIII, etc. It’s partially why there are so many fabulous royal dramas from that era. Royals and regular people are very much aware of them. What they don’t seem to do on the whole is emphasize how this historical tradition of pride and emblematizing the monarchy as the symbol of British people translates to actual disenfranchisement nowadays, because that would be where the embarrassment from the current royals would come in (witness the disastrous recent tours).

      • Jay says:

        @lunchcoma is there a thread or story collecting all of the different costumes that refuse to conform to the theme? I would definitely brave social media for that!

    • Rose says:

      Oh gosh yeah, Stonehenge has been used in so many ways over the years. Some incredibly tacky. I’d also much prefer this ephemeral projection to all the folks that have broken bits off over the years.

  12. Eurydice says:

    My first reaction was a screech of laughter. I’m not offended, but I’m not British. And it’s not like they carved her face into Stonehenge – it was an ephemeral thing. Maybe I’d get peeved if the Greek government projected the prime minister’s face onto the Parthenon, but, no, not even then.

    • Maggie says:

      Religious persecution and the genocide of a specific group of people….is not offensive?? Wow.

      The “winner” of that purge of a religious group just put her image on their sacred space….totally don’t get how that could be seen as offensive??

      • Mich says:

        You seem to be confusing people not knowing the history with them not caring. It is possible to educate without being insulting.

      • Tessa says:

        Your second paragraph – I see the point, but the first? It’s a symbolic gesture, nobody got killed by the projection, you don’t think it’s far fetched to assume that anyone who doesn’t see it as offensive as you also doesn’t find genocide offensive?

      • lunchcoma says:

        The Druids were persecuted by the Romans, not by the Britons or the Normans or the Germans who are currently on the throne. It’s tacky, but these aren’t the “winners.” That was no longer a living culture by the time anyone related to the current royal line ruled.

      • Rose says:

        Stonehenge was built over four thousand years ago by Neolithic folks, probably farmers, whose ancestors had migrated to the area from the Mediterranean (displacing the hunter gathers who weee there before) in about 4000 BCE. These farmers were in turn displaced by folks known now as the Bell Beaker people, these people also contributed to the construction of the Stonehenge site.

        Christianity was first introduced to what is now Britain when the Roman Empire was around, at least 2000 years after Stonehenge was constructed. By that point the people and the culture that produced Stonehenge was long gone. So I’m really not sure where all this talk of genocide is coming from.

      • Flowerlake says:

        In the article it was explained that pagans liken it to a church, and that they are offended.

        @Eurydice, are you a believer in the goddess Athena? If not, your feelings about the Parthenon might be quite different from those of pagans. For them, it’s probably not in the first place a nationalistic place, but a religious one. Now please note that the Queen is the Head of a Church of a different religion.

        I now tried to educate without being insulting. I hope people will then respect pagans as much as they do believers in institutional religions.

      • MeganC says:

        @Flowerlake As I noted above, ancient Druids had no connection to Stonehenge. 18th century Druid revivalists, who had no connection to ancient Druids, colonized Stonehenge and other megalithic sites.

      • Eurydice says:

        Thank you Maggie, Mich and Flowerlake – but I don’t need a history lesson. But you might read what others have pointed out about the history of Stonehenge.

        Flowerlake – As for whether I believe in the goddess Athena, well, yes, actually I do. I may not be sacrificing cattle to her, but I have a healthy respect for what the Greek gods represented as forces of nature and the best/worst of mankind. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and I’m sure she’d be much more ticked off at the Ottomans using the Acropolis as a harem and for munition storage, at the looting of the Parthenon Marbles by Lord Elgin, and with the Germans flying a Nazi flag over it during WWII, than with a fleeting image being projected on its surface. I will add that if you were trying not to insult me, you have failed.

      • Flowerlake says:

        @MeganC, I was talking about pagans right now, for whom this is a special place. Not all of them are Druids, which is why I did not mention them specifically.

        @Eurydice, perhaps best to not make a comparison then in the first place.
        ‘a screech of laughter’ didn’t seem very respectful to me and that is what I reacted to.

      • Rose says:

        @Flowerlake, I don’t want to speak for @Eurydice, but the way I read their comment was that they were laughing at the pictures showing how the Queen’s pictures had been projected onto Stonehenge, not the idea of that being offensive to anyone.

      • Nanny to the Rescue says:

        @Flowerlake … I’m sorry to hijack the debate but I just wanted to say this: The neopagans might claim that Stonehenge is sacred to them, but their Solstice celebrations I’d argue are far tackier than this (IMO stupid) projection of the queen. And the amount of trash these neopagans leave in their “church” during their main celebrtaions leads me to believe the place isn’t that sacred to them after all.

    • Gina says:

      I just imagined this: the face of the Greek prime-minister on Parthenon 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

      • BeanieBean says:

        Or the prime minister of Egypt on one of the pyramids. He’d end up with a pointy little head.

    • Eurydice says:

      @Flowerlake – best for you to ask before you judge.

      • Flowerlake says:

        I did actually ask you a question in my first response and that was about a topic you brought up yourself.

        You mentioned a “screech of laughter” when another group of people gets offended. Yet you seem to get insulted when someone asks you (and did not even laugh at you) about a topic you brought up yourself.

      • Flowerlake says:

        I did actually ask you a question in my first reply about a topic you brought up.

        You mentioned a “screech of laughter” when another group of people gets offended, but seem to get insulted when someone asks you a question (and did not laugh at you) about a topic you brought up yourself.

    • Christine says:

      I get your point, Eurydice, but if Trump’s image was splayed across this country, Mt. Rushmore, etc., we would all be livid. Out for blood livid, and there is nothing religious about Trump.

    • SAS says:

      Imagine trying to lecture someone who has chosen the name Eurydice on ancient history lol.

      It’s a temporary light show, I find the associated cost more offensive than the imagery. The same would go for Trump projected onto the Grand Canyon etc. I’m just at point where I’m like, great work guys, excellent progress on those graves you’re digging for yourselves.

      • Rose says:

        Yeah, it is definitely super sycophantic and pointless, but really not in and of itself offensive. Though I’m a National Trust member, not English Heritage, so it isn’t like my membership fee is going towards it.

  13. molly says:

    I have no opinion on the appropriate level of reverence owed to Stonehenge, but the artistry is impressive. This was clearly done by folks who knew what they were doing.

    The video of how they did it is really interesting, and the end product is beautiful.

    • Tessa says:

      They projected a single picture per stone, what’s so impressive about it? I’ve seen far more impressive displays in France that looked like entire movies, with musing, motion, sound effects, etc. By comparison, this is quite basic. I mean, I’m sure people who did it knew what they were doing, but with the royal resources, this is hardly a surprise or a high praise.

      • BeanieBean says:

        I think the impressive artistry Molly was referring to was Stonehenge itself. That’s the impressive work.

  14. Chaine says:

    I can think of anything when I see this other than the two-foot tall Stonehenge in This Is Spinal Tap. “ Stonehenge, where a man’s a man and the children dance to the Pipes of Pan!”

    • BeanieBean says:

      I had the good fortune to visit Stonehenge on a grad school trip & that’s all we could think about while there, Spinal Tap.

  15. Feeshalori says:

    I guffawed when I saw this over the weekend. Will someone smear a creamy cake on her face as with the Mona Lisa?

  16. equality says:

    It doesn’t appear to have been done for public viewing since the only ones around on the video are those doing the work, so what’s the point? I wonder who paid and how much.

    • booboocita says:

      I wonder how long the display will be up (too lazy to look it up). Somehow, I can’t see folks in the cities making a trip to Stonehenge just to see Liz’s face in glorious technicolor on rocks.

  17. Dee says:

    This reminds me of the fireworks shows at Disney where the images of cartoon characters are projected onto the castle facade. Tacky? Yes.

  18. Jais says:

    This is embarrassing and cringey.

    • BothSidesNow says:

      I agree. With the number of people in Britain fighting to find food, petrol and to heat their homes. It’s an extremely offensive given the current climate in Britain. All of that money spent to splash TQ onto the historic property of Stonehenge. It’s equally revolting and disgusting no matter how you look at it. They should have splashed her face over the façade of BP if they insisted on a display of celebration.

      • booboocita says:

        The entire Jubbly is embarrassing and cringey. With Britons suffering under scarcity and want, the country is paying for opulence and pageantry. Jesus wept …

  19. Jay says:

    This is what happens when you start out with the idea that everybody is just as excited to celebrate the glorious monarch as anointed by god to rule all.
    It’s the exact same thinking behind the cursed Caribbean colonial tours. They are just completely stuck in one way of thinking, and unable to see any other point of view.

    Stonehenge is not only from a time when Britain likely didn’t have a monarch, certainly not of a united kingdom, and there’s no connection to the Queen’s lineage. I guess technically the lands belong to the crown? But I’m not sure I’d want people thinking too hard about that.

    In a way, this stunt is just using the reverence for Stonehenge and trying to transfer it to the queen! Clout chasing, I believe they call it. Not a fan.

    • Margaret says:

      Good points. To me it doesn’t matter that the neo-pagans and neo-Druids who now claim connection to the site are not directly connected to the original stone-age or bronze-age builders of Stonehenge, It is a place of pre-Christian cultural and/or social and/or religious relevance and important to people who claim a spiritual connection with pre-Christian religion, or who just revere it as a significant pre-Christian historical site, and it seems wrong to me to emblazon it with these tacky images of the current supreme-governor of the English Christian church. It seems like a very arrogant act to me.

    • Christine says:

      Agreed, 100%. It’s the usual monarchy hubris.

  20. Mich says:

    Beyond issues of tacky/offensive, it opened her up to a lot of ridicule. So just a bad call all around.

    Off topic: The first time I visited Stonehenge was in 1977, a few months before they fenced it off. We were the only people there. So very different from visiting it today.

    • BeanieBean says:

      I got to visit on a grad school trip in 1991. I found the whole restricted pathways & etc. to be less than ideal for viewing; I understand why, of course (preservation issues), but still. We (Cambridge University archaeology department grad students) got to go inside the circle, which by then was no longer allowable. I got goosebumps.

  21. Normades says:

    Very tacky and offensive. This is a wonder that was made by an ancient culture that was replaced by patriarchy and Christianity. The monarchy has no place flashing their faces on monuments they can take no credit in creating.

    I’ve been to Stonehenge and was really taken by the powerful energy I felt there.

    • Rose says:

      A wonder made by an ancient culture, yes. But this ancient culture was already gone by the time Christianity arrived in Britain with the Romans over 2000 years later. Also, we have very little idea how their society was constructed so any comments on the status of women in that society would be pretty speculative.

  22. Lovely Rita says:

    I’ve spent a good bit of time up close and personal with the stones, and I’m pretty sure they don’t care. They are so much more than even a reigning-70-years monarch. This Stonehenge show is equal parts tacky and attention-grabbing, so it seems to fit right in with all the other anachronistic Jubbly fixings. I’d buy the “Queen on Stonehenge” tea towel, haha. Too bad someone didn’t slip in a few slides of H & M! Lol

    • BeanieBean says:

      Oh, god, there you go! The Queen on Stonehenge tea towel! I want one!

      • booboocita says:

        Given the way this Jubbly has gone so far, the tea towels would probably say “Kween on Stonehinge.”

    • SAS says:

      @Lovely Rita that’s such an interesting way to look at it! For all the embiggening attempts at how HUGE and HISTORIC the Jubbly is, the juxtaposition of a 70-year reign against freaking STONEHENGE really puts it into perspective. How silly.

  23. tamsin says:

    Generally tacky and probably offensive to many if you think of historic and symbolic connections. Whoever had this brainwave should have had a second thought.

  24. Rose says:

    If folks would like to learn more about the really cool archeology and science that has been done to figure out what we do know about who, when, how, and to what purpose Stonehenge was built then I can definitely recommend the Wikipedia page on the Stones. It is an amazing place, but it wasn’t build by Druids.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      ITA – people are often shocked when I tell them that Stonehenge is older than the pyramids, that Avebury is older than Stonehenge and that the standing stones of Stenness (Orkney) is older than all the aforementioned.

      If people want to understand the Neolithic peoples and culture – just visit Skara Brae in Orkney.

  25. J. Ferber says:

    Whose stupid idea was it to do that? I can see William raising a hand proudly.

  26. MY3CENTS says:

    Sorry but this woman is not the second coming of christ, just lucky enough to be born into a family that stopped offing each other in modern age, hence the long reign.

  27. pocket litter says:

    Very offensive.

  28. BeanieBean says:

    It’s just…really bad. After reading the intro, I was thinking, well, they do these light shows at other famous ancient monuments–e.g., at the temples in Luxor, also once religious–so how bad could it be. Turns out, really really bad. Aesthetically bad, conceptually bad, just bad.

  29. Polly says:

    One of my favourite comments was someone saying that they’ve managed to make Stone Henge look like a collection of novelty cigarette lighters. Someone else joked that the British have now started to colonise themselves. Oh god let it be over soon.

  30. SenseOfTheAbsurd says:

    Registering my vote for horrifically tacky and disrespectful to Stonehenge.

  31. Roo says:

    Oh my word. It’s like the worst parts of Las Vegas. All that’s missing is a dancing water fountain and a fake Pyramid. 🤣

  32. Brassy Rebel says:

    I gotta admit I love the idea of projecting Andrew’s disgusting image on the Pizza Express in Woking. Gives everyone fair warning.

  33. Bumbles says:

    This is beyond disgusting. I may not understand everything about the origins of Stonehenge but for a structure that ancient, mysterious and revered having images of a parasitical leader of a parasitical group on it is so deeply offensive and disturbing. These out of touch, racist, morons who are living off of the riches of a monarchy that was built upon supreme classism and the oppression, genocide, enslavement, brutality and massacre of peoples around the world and their cultures makes me sick. I don’t want to see their faces at all, never mind her face on such a wonderous and spiritual structure.