Although the study of national identity in social psychology has examined the various ways in which the national group is ‘imagined’, little attention has been paid to the many collective national commemorations, celebrations and rituals of state assumed to unite the nation. This is surprising given the number of celebrations and commemorations which fill the calendars of modern nations throughout the world and which are assumed by social scientists to play some part in the reproduction of the national community. Taking the British Royal Golden Jubilee celebrations of 2002, the present study examines how understandings of Anglo-British national identity are manifest in conversational interviews during and after these events. In line with previous examinations of Anglo-Britishness, our respondents typically resisted imagining the national community as a homogenous whole and distanced themselves from depictions of the Jubilee as a nationalistic event. Support for the Jubilee was contingent upon the event being apolitical and inclusive. We suggest that such collective national events could potentially facilitate ways of imagining the national community in terms of diversity and inclusivity rather than homogeneity and exclusivity. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.