Jubilee celebrations day by day as UK gears up for bank holiday weekend
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National celebrations for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee bank holiday weekend include a star-studded pop concert, a carnival pageant and the lighting of thousands of beacons across the world.
The Queen is said to be looking forward to the ambitious commemorations, which have been years in the making.
At the age of 96 the Queen has mobility issues, and now uses a walking stick.
Buckingham Palace has said her presence at the Jubilee events may not be confirmed until the day.
Here is how the festivities will unfold as the UK pays tribute to its longest-reigning monarch:
– Thursday June 2
The official programme begins with the military spectacle of Trooping the Colour.
More than 1,500 officers and soldiers and 250 horses from the Household Division will stage the display on Horse Guards Parade in central London, with the colour trooped by the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards.
Some 400 musicians from 10 military bands and corps of drums will march amid pomp and pageantry.
The royal family will travel from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to the parade ground, with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal on horseback.
Plans are said to be in place either for the Queen to briefly inspect the troops, or to only appear with the royal family on the balcony for a special flypast afterwards.
If the Queen does delegate her salute duties at Trooping to another family member, it will be the first time she has done so in her 70-year reign, The Sunday Times reported.
Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, William and the Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Anne, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will be on the balcony.
The Queen limited the numbers to working royals, meaning the Duke of York and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be there.
But her Cambridge great-grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and her two youngest grandchildren, the Wessexes’ children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, will be present.
A six-minute display by more than 70 aircraft will include the Red Arrows and the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
In the evening, more than 2,800 beacons will be set ablaze across the UK and the Commonwealth in tribute to the Queen.
The network of flaming tributes will stretch throughout the country, with beacons at sites including the Tower of London, Windsor Great Park, Hillsborough Castle and the Queen’s estates of Sandringham and Balmoral, and on top of the UK’s four highest peaks.
The first beacons will be lit in Tonga and Samoa in the South Pacific, and the final one in the central American country of Belize.
The principal beacon outside the Palace – a 21-metre tall Tree of Trees sculpture for the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative – will be illuminated by a senior member of the royal family, and images will be projected on to the Palace.
– Friday June 3
A traditional service of thanksgiving will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London.
There will be no ceremonial journey to the cathedral and the Queen, if she attends, will use a different entrance to aid her comfort rather than use the steep main steps.
Wider members of the family are expected to be present, including possibly the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Duke of York, and the service will be followed by a Guildhall reception.
– Saturday June 4
Epsom Derby Day could see the Queen head to the races where there will be a special tribute from the world of racing.
Frankie Dettori and Willie Carson are expected to be part of a guard of honour on the course, of up to 40 past and present jockeys who have ridden for the Queen.
In the evening, Queen + Adam Lambert will open the BBC’s Party at the Palace – set on three stages in front of Buckingham Palace, entertaining a live audience of 22,000 people.
The band hopes to better the Golden Jubilee 20 years ago when guitarist Brian May performed God Save The Queen on the Palace roof.
The line-up includes Alicia Keys, Nile Rodgers, Andrea Bocelli, Duran Duran, Bond composer Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow, George Ezra and Diana Ross.
The televised show will also feature appearances from stars including Sir David Attenborough, Emma Raducanu, David Beckham, Stephen Fry and Dame Julie Andrews.
– Sunday June 5
More than 70,000 Big Jubilee Lunches are being held across the UK on the Sunday afternoon, with an expected 10 million people set to sit down with their neighbours at street parties, picnics and barbecues.
Camilla is patron of the Big Lunch and likely to join a street party at some stage.
The celebration also coincides with this year’s Thank You Day – originally set up to pay tribute to those who helped people through the pandemic.
Celebrities Ross Kemp, Gareth Southgate, Prue Leith and Ellie Simmonds have urged people to throw the biggest thank you party for the Queen .
The finale on June 5 is the Jubilee Pageant through the streets of London.
Set to be watched by up to a billion people across the globe, more than 10,000 people will be involved in the £15 million procession.
Ed Sheeran singing the national anthem, puppet corgis, a giant 3D wire bust of the Queen, a tribute to seven decades of fashion, music and culture, and the Gold State Coach are just some of the sights set to feature along the 3km route.
There is speculation the Queen and the royal family could make a final appearance on the Palace balcony to round off the weekend.
– Other events
William and Kate will visit Wales during the bank holiday, Edward and Sophie will travel to Northern Ireland and Anne to Scotland for official engagements.
It is not yet known where Harry and Meghan, who are heading to the UK with their children Archie and Lilibet, might be seen, amid suggestions they could watch the pageant.
Big screens will be set up in The Mall and St James’s Park in London, Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh and in Bute Park in Cardiff across the weekend.
The Tower of London’s Superbloom – 20 million seeds planted in the moat to create a spectacular meadow – will be open from June 1 until September, and features a family-friendly slide for visitors to shoot down into the attraction.