Queen Elizabeth Stonehenge Tribute Called an English 'Mount Rushmore'

Queen Elizabeth II's image is being projected onto Stonehenge to mark her Platinum Jubilee and the display has provoked criticism on social media with users calling the move "tacky" and "appalling" with others comparing the results to an "English Mount Rushmore."

English Heritage, the organization that manages the ancient monument dating back more than 4,500 years, have projected a set of images of the queen onto elements of the stone circle representing the seven decades of her historic reign.

The queen is the first monarch in the British institution's thousand-year history to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. In addition to being Britain's oldest and longest-reigning monarch, she is also the longest serving female head of state in the world.

Though many social media users have taken to online platforms to voice displeasure at the move to project the queen's likeness onto Stonehenge, this is not the first time that such an occurrence has taken place. In December 2020 the images of eight heritage workers were projected onto the monument to promote the industry's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

English Heritage told Newsweek that in addition to the 2020 projections, events marking the London 2012 Olympics and the centenary of the First World War have also been staged at the monument. "Stonehenge has played a part in marking important moments in this country's recent history, including—now—the Platinum Jubilee," the organization attests.

Despite this the move to celebrate the queen has been called "tacky" with one social media user posting:

"Do you think the people who built this temple would appreciate having the image of Head of the Christian Church of England plastered all over their work? It's tacky and disrespectful to Stonehenge's creators. They deserve better."

Queen Elizabeth II Stonehenge Projections Backlash
Larger than life projections of Queen Elizabeth II on the Neolithic monument Stonehenge organized to mark the monarch's Platinum Jubilee have been criticized online. Photographed, May 2022. Queen (inset) photographed May 13, 2022. Alamy/English Heritage/Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Though there are many theories as to the true purpose of Stonehenge none have been definitively proven though general scholars agree that as it was neither habitable nor easily defended, it was probably a spiritual monument.

On this theme archaeologist, Sarah Parcak took to Twitter to posted:

"Stonehenge is a monument/ symbol of the dead. Just saying be careful how you engage with old and powerful Gods"

Broadcaster Matt Potter offered that the projecting of the monarch's face onto the ancient monument in some way politicized it in addition to highlighting the perceived vanity of the undertaking. He posted:

"This feels very misjudged.

"1. Ancient sites sit above the daily sway of political causes. It's their value.
"2. Plastering flattering portraits of the Queen all over Stonehenge manages to give a 96-y/o lady actual Caligula vibes.

"3. Sponsorship hoves into view, we all shudder."

Others voiced out and out displeasure at the move. Author Stewart Bint simply posted: "Oh, how awful", and travel writer for The Telegraph, Lottie Gross, said: "This is definitely what Stonehenge was built for."

While a large number of social media users have criticized the move, others have defended it, viewing it as a respectful tribute to the 96-year-old queen. Journalist Dave Thackeray wrote:

"What a lovely way to commemorate a woman who has devoted her life to serving a nation we love."

Other commenters responded with a satirical take on the bizarre nature of the tribute. Sony Kapoor, a climate and geoeconomics professor, wrote: "#Stonehenge goes back to its pagan roots for #Jubilee"

Author Abraham Reisman said on his Twitter account: "Finally, Englishmen have their own Mount Rushmore," referring to the carved faces of American presidents on a mountainside in South Dakota.

And content editor Sarah McDermott posted:

"Can confirm that when I was at stonehenge last week, something felt wrong and upsetting about the place. I was just staring at the normal boring rocks like, "these stones don't respect the queen at all :(" So glad they've fixed it."

Before adding: "wow they updated the merch so fast, impressive" with an edited image of a Stonehenge plate reading, "I've queen the stones."

The queen's central weekend of Platinum Jubilee celebrations will take place this weekend June 2-5 and will be marked with a series of high profile events in London attended by members of the royal family including the queen, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and also Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

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