giant concert, military parade, "big lunch"... The program to celebrate the 70 years of the Queen's reign

giant concert, military parade, “big lunch”… The program to celebrate the 70 years of the Queen’s reign

A longevity never equaled in the British monarchy. The United Kingdom and the countries of the Commonwealth (more than fifty States) are preparing to celebrate the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, which marks the 70 years of reign of the sovereign. While events have been held across the kingdom since February 6, the Queen’s official coronation day, the main festivities will take place from June 2-5 to take advantage of the good weather.

For this anniversary, the government has invested 28 million pounds (33 million euros) and a special public holiday has been decreed on June 3 so that all of Her Majesty’s subjects can take part in the celebration. Here are the main appointments of the Jubilee.

June 2: kick-off of the festivities with a military parade and the lighting of beacons

• The “Trooping the Colour” fashion show. More than 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians will gather in the traditional military parade marking the anniversary of the Queen’s official coronation, explains the British Monarchy website*. The procession will depart from Buckingham Palace, London, and descend to Horse Guards Parade across the grand avenue from The Mall, where it will be joined by members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages. According to several British media*, for the first time in 70 years, the Queen will not attend the royal salute and the review of military troops. In early May, the palace warned that Elizabeth II was diminished by “mobility problems”.

Parade Rehearsal "Trooping the Color" in London, May 21, 2022. (GUY BELL / SHUTTERSTOCK / SIPA)

The parade will end with the traditional Royal Air Force flypast, which the Queen and her family will watch from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. This year, only family members who “carry out official public engagements on behalf of the Queen” Will be present. A total of 18 members, including Crown Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, as well as his son William, his wife Kate and their three children, are expected on the balcony.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who have stepped back from the monarchy, as well as Prince Andrew, accused of sexual assault in the Epstein case, were deprived of the ceremony.

• The “Platinum Jubilee Beacons”. As with all weddings, coronations and anniversaries, lanterns (“beacons” in English) will be lit in 1,500 places (on top of mountains, churches, along the beach…) across the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and in the territories British overseas, says the BBC*. For the first time, the capitals of the Commonwealth countries will also light their beacons. A special beacon will be lit in a 21 meter high tree* at 9 p.m. at Buckingham Palace.

June 3: Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral

The Queen being the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, a Service of Thanksgiving (“Service of Thanksgiving”) will take place on Saturday morning at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. It will include Bible readings, hymns and songs to thank the monarch for her reign and her faith. The largest church bell in the country*, Great Paul, will ring for the occasion. Made in 1882, the bell had stopped ringing in the 1970s due to a mechanical problem, but it was restored in 2021. This ringing will be followed by a chime of bells.

June 4: a prestigious horse race and a giant concert

The Epsom Derby. The Queen, a great equestrian, like other members of her family, will take part in this prestigious flat horse race. Since 1780, the Epsom Derby has allowed the best thoroughbreds to acquire fame, according to a specialized British site*.

The “Platinum Party” in Buckingham. Organized by the BBC and broadcast live on its antennas, this concert will be hosted by Kirsty Young and Roman Kemp in front of the royal palace. Some 22,000 spectators are expected to see Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Sir Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer, Andrea Bocelli, Mabel and even Sam Ryder, British candidate for Eurovision 2022. Elton John should also perform during a pre-recorded performance.

The concert will last 2h30 and will take place on three stages. 3D projections will be broadcast on the palace, specifies the BBC*.

In addition to music stars, film, television and sports celebrities are expected, such as Sir David Attenborough (science journalist), Emma Raducanu (tennis player), David Beckham, Stephen Fry (comedian and director) and Dame Julie Andrews (interpreter of Mary Poppins). Some will be there in person, others will speak by videoconference. According to the BBC, the evening will be placed under the theme “born or having evolved during the reign of Her Majesty”whose fashion, sports, the environment, pop music and musicals.

June 5: “big lunch”, art parade and concert by Ed Sheeran

The Big Jubilee Lunch. Citizens are invited to organize lunches in their neighborhood to celebrate the Jubilee. Thousands of events have already been listed on the event site*, with street parties, barbecues, picnics, competitions for the largest table… “big lunches” (“big lunches” in French) are also planned in Canada*, Brazil, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa. This year, the colors of Big Jubilee Lunch are red, white and blue. During the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (60 years of reign) in 2012, more than 8.5 million people had taken part in these meals.

A street lunch organized in Picadilly (London) on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, celebrating the 60 years of the Queen's reign, on June 3, 2012. (DANIEL SORABJI / AFP)

For this occasion, guests are invited to reproduce and taste the platinum pudding, a lemon roll cake that won the pudding contest organized for the occasion. The ingredients for success? A rolled sponge cake, topped with St Clement’s jelly (a jam of oranges and lemons), lemon pastry cream, amaretti (Italian cookies with almonds), mandarin coulis, whipped cream, orange peel and chocolate shavings.

• The “Platinum Jubilee Pageant”. This parade of artists, which will be attended by more than 5,000 people from all over the UK, will take place on The Mall. It will close these four days of celebrations and will combine “street arts, theatre, music, circus, carnival and costumes” in homage to the reign of Elizabeth II, specifies the site visitbritain*. A pack of twenty corgis puppets, the Queen’s favorite dog, will also take part in the show. The parade will also reserve a special place for horses, the sovereign’s great passion, by representing ten of the equidae that mattered in the life of Elizabeth II.

Corgis puppets created for Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, in Coventry, England, May 5, 2022. (KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH / AP / SIPA)

A gigantic puppet representing Lady Godiva, created for the London Olympics in 2012, will take part in the parade. The procession will also evoke the traditional counting of swans on the Thames and using boats loved by Prince Philip, the Queen’s husband who died in April 2021 at the age of 99.

Finally, singer Ed Sheeran will give a final concert at Buckingham Palace at the end of thisyou big parade.

* These links refer to content in English.

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