On 6th February, Her Majesty The Queen became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne. To celebrate this unprecedented anniversary, the people of the United Kingdom were awarded a four day bank holiday weekend spanning from Thursday the 2nd of June to Sunday the 5th of June. The four days of celebrations included public events and community activities as well as national moments of reflection to mark the Queen’s 70 years of service.
Thursday 2nd June
Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour is an annual event that has marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years and has been lovingly referred to as The Queen’s Birthday Parade. The event included more than 1,400 soldiers and officers from the Household Division, 1st Battalion and Irish Guards, together with approximately 240 horses and hundreds of Army musicians.
The parade began at Buckingham Palace and slowly moved down The Mall towards the Horse Guard’s Parade. Members of the Royal Family, including Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, The Duke of Cambridge, and The Prince of Wales joined the parade on horseback, while other members of the monarchy such as The Duchess of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cornwall followed closely in the first horse-drawn carriage. The Duchess of Cambridge, accompanied by her three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, waved to the crowds who had turned out to celebrate the momentous occasion. Due to Her Majesty’s mobility issues, The Queen did not attend Trooping the Colour in the capacity that she has done previously. Instead, she watched from Buckingham Palace’s balcony alongside Prince Edward, The Duke of Kent.
After the parade, The Queen was joined on the balcony by the working members of The Royal Family to watch the spectacular RAF flypast. According to the Royal Air Force, there were over 70 aircraft from The Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force involved in the flypast, including 15 Typhoon aircraft from RAF Coningsby and RAF Lossiemouth who flew in a special ‘70’ formation to in celebration of the Queen’s landmark Jubilee.
Platinum Jubilee Beacons
On the evening of the 2nd of June, over 1,500 beacons were lit across the globe to celebrate the Jubilee. This included The Principal beacon at Buckingham Palace. There were three types of beacon events happening across the evening: Community Beacons (lit by local communities), Commonwealth Beacons (lit in all 54 capital cities of the Commonwealth), and the Principal Beacon (The Tree of Trees lit at Buckingham Palace).
The lighting of beacons is a long tradition among Royal celebrations and according to the official Royal website, a beacon chain has become a symbol of unity after once being used as a tool for communication. In 1977, 2002, 2012 and 2022, beacons were lit to commemorate the Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth.
Friday 3rd June
Service of Thanksgiving
A Service of Thanksgiving was held at St Paul’s Cathedral to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and unveil the new exhibition: “Jubilee: St Paul’s, the Monarch and the Changing World”. The exhibition looks back at previous Jubilee celebrations, from King George III in 1809 all the way to Queen Elizabeth II today. The Dean of St Pauls, the Very Reverend Dr David Ison announced that he was “delighted to open a brand new exhibition documenting previous Jubilee celebrations across three centuries. From rich and beautiful textiles to treasured photographs and scrapbooks, the story emerges of the excitement and anticipation of each Jubilee Celebration.”
The Queen was represented officially by her son, The Duke of Wales, and his wife, The Duchess of Cornwall, after experiencing “discomfort” at Trooping the Colour the day before. Charles and Camilla were joined by The Cambridge’s, The Sussex’s, The Prime Minister, The Home Secretary, and The Wessex’s to name a few. The Thanksgiving Service was the first time Harry and Meghan had attended a Royal event since moving to California in March 2020.
Saturday 4th June
The Cazoo Derby at Epsom Downs
The Queen has always been a passionate equestrian. However, she cancelled her appearance at the Epsom Derby. Instead, Princess Anne and her children, Peter Philips, and Zara Tindall represented her alongside Mike Tindall, Lindsay Wallace, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.
Unfortunately, The Queen’s only runner of the day, Just Fine, was pulled out of the race at the 48-hour declaration stage. However, 40 jockeys who previously rode for Her Majesty donned the Royal silks before forming a guard of honour. Additionally, five of The Queen’s former racehorses paraded before the race began in a touching spectacle.
Platinum Party at the Palace
The Platinum Party at the Palace was a star-studded event, with A-listers including Diana Ross, Queen, and Hanz Zimmer performing in front of the Buckingham Palace gates. According to the BBC, the event attracted the BBC’s biggest audience of the year, with 13.4 million viewers tuning in to watch the high-profile event. The Queen did not attend the event, but in a surprise scene, Her Majesty was seen having tea at the palace with Paddington Bear in a hilariously entertaining skit.
While the evening mainly consisted of elaborate performances, The Duke of Cambridge took to the stage to deliver a moving speech on the climate crisis. Protecting the environment is a topic close to the hearts of many royals, namely The Duke of Wales and the late Duke of Edinburgh, and the future King used this moment to urge the public to protect the planet. The Duke made reference to the nature documentarian, Sir David Attenborough, announcing, “I am in awe of people like Sir David Attenborough who look at the beauty and power of our Earth and then work to celebrate and preserve it”.
Although, while Prince William’s speech was one of the evening’s highlights, it was his youngest son, Prince Louis (4) who stole the show. The young prince was seen on the front row of the royal box during the Platinum Party where he blew raspberries at his mother, sat on his grandfather’s lap, and waved a union jack flag during performances. The cheeky prince kept the nation entertained throughout the Jubilee weekend with his funny expressions and typical child-like antics.
To conclude the party, drones were seen flying above the palace in a spectacular display that lit up to depict a selection of typical British items such as The Queen’s Guard, a stamp, a handbag, a teacup, a teapot, and corgis. The drones concluded by spelling “Thank You, Ma’am” in a touching finale.
Sunday 5th June
The Big Jubilee Lunch
The Big Jubilee Lunch invited Britons to host street parties to celebrate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne. Buckingham Palace announced that over 85,000 people signed up to host Big Jubilee Lunches, and over 18 million people took part, getting together with neighbours to share food and drink in commemoration of such a momentous occasion.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge surprised some unsuspecting Kensington residents as they greeted royal fans during a surprise visit. Members of the local community said that the royal visit was a “lovely surprise” and it was a moment that some will “cherish forever”.
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant
To wrap up the weekend's events, The Platinum Jubilee Pageant showcased iconic moments throughout The Queen’s reign. Double-decker buses carried a range of national treasures, including celebrities such as Kate Moss, key workers and athletes from different eras down The Mall while music through the ages was blasted in what has been dubbed, “The People’s Pageant”.
The Pageant began with The Gold State Carriage being led by The Sovereign’s Escort. While the Queen was not present in the carriage, in embracing the latest digital technology, a hologram of Her Majesty on her coronation day in 1953, was projected onto the carriage’s window.
The Royal Family then made their final appearance of the Jubilee weekend on the balcony of Buckingham Palace where the Queen was seen to be smiling and waving to her well-wishers.
In a candid public address, Her Majesty thanked the people of the commonwealth for their unwavering support, announcing that after 70 years on the throne, “there is no rulebook to follow”, and while she may not have attended every event, she “remains committed to serving to the best of my ability”.
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