How the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is being celebrated

Planned events to mark royal anniversary include four-day bank holiday in June

Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace
(Image credit: Yui Mok/WPA Pool/Getty Image)

Britain is gearing up to launch into celebrations marking the Queen’s record-breaking 70 years of service to her country.

Buckingham Palace has revealed the details of the grand finale of a series of events and initiatives to mark the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne on 6 February 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI.

The Platinum Jubilee extravaganza will include parties and exhibitions at venues including the Queen’s private Sandringham and Balmoral estates. The whole of the UK will get a chance to join in the fun during a one-off four-day bank holiday that kicks off on 2 June.

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Queen’s Birthday Parade – 2 June

The Bank Holiday weekend celebrations begin on 2 June with the Queen's Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour. More than 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians will come together in a parade down The Mall to mark the Queen’s official birthday, which is always celebrated in June.

Members of the Royal Family will join the parade on horseback and in carriages, and the procession will end with a traditional RAF fly-past, which the Queen and various royals will watch from the iconic Buckingham Palace balcony.

Service of Thanksgiving – 3 June

On the Friday of the Bank Holiday weekend, a “service of thanksgiving” for the Queen’s reign will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral, according to the Royal Family’s official website. Details about the historic service are yet to be announced, but St Paul’s has confirmed that it will not be open to the public.

However, members of the public will be able to mark the historic occasion by attending a special exhibition at the cathedral.

Opening on 25 May, Jubilee: St Paul’s, the Monarch and the Changing World will examine the jubilee celebrations for King George III, King George V, Queen Victoria and the silver, golden and diamond jubilees of Queen Elizabeth II. Entry to the exhibition is included with general admission to St Paul’s.

Platinum Party at the Palace – 4 June

One of the highlights of the many celebrations will take place on Saturday 4 June, when the BBC will stage and broadcast a special live concert from Buckingham Palace.

“Some of the world’s biggest entertainment stars” will be brought together to celebrate “the most significant and joyous moments from the Queen’s seven-decade reign”, said the Royal Family’s website.

The 10,000 tickets to the concert were allocated on a first-come, first-served basis via a ballot, which closed on 23 March. But royal fans who missed out on a ticket can watch the concert live on a big screen in the Royal Park on the Queen’s Sandringham estate.

The Platinum Party at the Palace will also be broadcast live on BBC One and Radio 2.

Platinum Jubilee Pageant – 5 June

Another big bash is also planned for 5 June, when performers, musicians, military personnel, key workers and volunteers will put on the Platinum Jubilee Pageant to tell the story of the Queen’s reign against the backdrop of Buckingham Palace.

The event will combine “pomp and ceremony, street arts, theatre, music, circus, costumes, as well as cutting-edge visual technology”, the royals’ official website said, and will “draw on talent from across the UK and the Commonwealth”.

The pageant will include a River of Hope section featuring 200 silk flags that “will process down The Mall, appearing like a moving river”, the site added. The flags will contain pictures created by primary and secondary school children depicting their aspirations and hopes for the planet over the next seven decades.

According to the Daily Mirror, “Cliff Richard, Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, Jeremy Irons, Heston Blumenthal, Ed Sheeran and Gary Lineker” are among the stars taking part in the pageant.

Highlights will include “puppet corgis and a giant 3D bust of the Queen”, said The Guardian, “with television audiences across the globe expected to run into hundreds of millions”.

Big Jubilee Lunch – 5 June

Also on Sunday 5 June, people across the country will be encouraged to get together “to share friendship, food and fun with neighbours” as part of the jubilee celebrations, said the royal website.

The Big Jubilee Lunch can be “big or small – street party or picnic, tea and cake or a garden barbeque”, the site added.

More than 1,400 individuals or communities had registered to throw a Big Jubilee Lunch as of January this year. People planning to host a street party can share the details on an interactive map on the official Platinum Jubilee website.

The Big Jubilee Lunch is part of the annual Big Lunch, a project launched in 2009 to strengthen and celebrate community connections.

Platinum Pudding Competition – January until June

Earlier this year, royal grocer Fortnum & Mason invited cooking fans to create a pudding that “will be an important part of the celebrations”, in collaboration with the Big Jubilee Lunch.

Almost 5,000 UK residents aged eight and over entered the competition, which closed in February. Five finalists were then chosen to prepare their puddings for a judging panel including former Bake Off presenter Mary Berry, Masterchef’s Monica Galetti and Buckingham Palace’s head chef Mark Flanagan, before the experts selected the winner in March.

The champion will be announced via a one-hour celebratory special, which will air on BBC One in mid-May. Their winning pudding will be “served up at street parties and other celebrations up and down the country”, said Fortnum & Mason, and the creator “will be invited to be at the centre of the celebrations”.

The Queen’s Green Canopy – ongoing

Thousands of trees are being planted in cities from Cornwall to Glasgow as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, a project encouraging communities to “plant a tree for the Jubilee”.

Every newly planted tree is being recorded on a digital Queen’s Green Canopy map that “will be presented to Her Majesty at the end of the Jubilee year”, according to the royal website.

The project will run until March 2023 and also includes work to protect 70 ancient trees and woodlands “that are a valuable part of the UK’s heritage and history”, the site continued.

A training programme is being launched too, to teach unemployed young people new skills in tree planting and management, and a new Young Foresters Award will “highlight the value of trees to school children”.

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