‘Patriotic’ Queen book for schools printed in … Italy

Publisher forced to look abroad as there was no UK printer for all 4.5m books

Publisher forced to look abroad as there was no UK printer for all 4.5m books


A free “patriotic” book sent to schools to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee was mostly printed abroad because there was no UK publisher big enough to produce all 4.5 million copies. 

As first revealed by Schools Week, the Department for Education spent £12million commissioning the “unique gift” to every primary school child. 

British publisher DK was asked to ensure the book was “written with the aim of being inclusive, patriotic and ‘speaking to all children’ with regard to all regions of the UK,” according to the contract.

But it has emerged that three of the four sub-contracted printers are based in Italy. The fourth was based in Glasgow, Scotland. 

A DK spokesperson said due to the “sheer size of the print run it was not possible to find a UK publisher with the capacity to fulfil the entire order”.

Naomi Smith, chief executive of internationalist campaign group Best for Britain, said it “underlines the interconnectedness that remains between the UK and European markets.

queen jubilee
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi

“This is a clear indication that a strong relationship with our closest trading partner is essential, even if it’s just to deliver a dash of patriotism.”

Caroline Derbyshire, chair of the Headteachers Roundtable, said it was “pretty ironic”, adding: “It shows how much we depend on collaborating with our friends in Europe even when we are celebrating our own traditions.”

In 2018, it was reported a French company had won the contract to produce Britain’s new dark blue “Brexit” passports.

Labour said it was “farcical” that the government had given the contract to Gemalto “at the expense of the British economy”.

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