Your Guide to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

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Hello and happy Jubilee Week to everyone. 

With excitement building for the events officially marking Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, I thought a backgrounder might be helpful with info on the various functions we’ll be seeing, along with a bit of history. (NOTE: The Kate’s Calendar page will be your easiest reference tool to check for basic event info, including the timings for events.)

As far as what to expect for the Duchess’s Jubilee wardrobe, I am not going to try and predict beyond suggesting we’re likely to see Alexander McQueen designs, a Jenny Packham style, and several hats.

Above left you see the Duchess in the lacy Alexander McQueen worn for the Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s on June 5, the red McQueen design chosen for the June 3 Jubilee River Pageant, and on the right, the Erdem dress worn for Trooping the Colour on June 16. (As best I recall, Trooping the Colour wasn’t tied as closely to the Jubilee in 2012 as it is for this celebration, at least in terms of the calendar.)  

HM will attend most, but not all events because of her ongoing challenges with mobility. Below, the 96-year-old monarch at the Chelsea Flower Show on May 23, riding in a special golf buggy she has been using for some time at Windsor Castle.

There is plenty of excitement as all of the planning and preparations come together. Below, the flags are up on the Mall.

And on Regent Street. 

Here you see Prince William on Saturday as he led the Colonel’s Review, essentially a final rehearsal of Trooping the Colour. As Colonel of the Irish Guards, it was his job to say if the troops were prepared for the Queen’s Birthday Parade on Thursday. 

Trees have been planted throughout the UK as part of the Jubilee’s Queen’s Green Canopy initiative tied to the Jubilee. A massive “Tree of Trees” sculpture has been created at Buckingham Palace. Below is a Heatherwick Studio illustration of the sculpture. 

Town and Country reports, “It was designed by Thomas Heatherwick….the unique sculpture consists of 80 steel “branches” holding 350 trees in aluminum pots bearing the Queen’s cipher.” Last week that installation was completed. 

After the Jubilee celebrations, the trees will be donated to community groups. Below, children help affix light bulbs to part of the sculpture.

This will be the primary London beacon lit on Thursday night.   

Last night (Monday night), portraits of HM lit up Marble Arch. 

There is all manner of events happening throughout the UK and Commonwealth countries. We’ll pivot now to the official Jubilee events taking place this week. 

THURSDAY, JUNE 2

TROOPING THE COLOUR: Thursday morning at 10 am (5 am EDT), the Queen’s Birthday Parade gets underway with 1500+ soldiers and 350 horses. The military flypast at Buckingham Palace follows the parade. I expect we’ll see all three Cambridge children in attendance. Below, the Cambridge family at the 2019 event.

QUEEN’S JUBILEE BEACONS: Thursday night at 9:25 pm local time (4:25 pm EDT), more than 3000 beacons will be lit throughout the United Kingdom, the  Channel Islands, Isle of Man, and UK Overseas Territories to mark the Jubilee. Look for senior royals and possibly HM at 9:25 pm in London, and 4:25 pm on the east coast of the US. The Belfast Telegraph reports, “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-meter 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 onto the Palace.” 

Below, HM during Silver Jubilee celebrations moments after she lit a bonfire beacon at Windsor Castle in 1977.

 

FRIDAY, JUNE 3

SERVICE OF THANKSGIVING: Friday at 11:30 am in London (6:30 am EDT), there will be a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. The service “will include bible readings, anthems, prayers, and congregational hymns,” per St. Paul’s. The service will be followed by a Guildhall reception hosted by the Lord Mayor. Below, HM at the Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving in 2012.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the 2012 service. 

The Archibishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will be unable to do the service as planned; he has pneumonia and has tested positive for COVID. The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, will now do the sermon in his place.

SATURDAY, JUNE 4

WALES VISIT: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit Cardiff, Wales, and see preps for the Platinum Jubilee Concert at the Castle. I do not yet have any timings for the Wales trip. Also on Saturday, the Earl and Countess of Wessex will carry out two engagements in Northern Ireland. Princess Anne, accompanied by Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, will visit Edinburgh on Friday, June 3.

EPSOM DERBY: Princess Anne will represent her mother at the Derby, and other royal family members will also attend the event. HM is not able to attend, nor do I expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The race itself gets underway at 4:30 pm (11:30 am EDT).  

PLATINUM PARTY AT THE PALACE: At 8 pm local time (3 pm EDT/Noon PDT), the big Platinum Party at the Palace gets underway, airing live on BBC One. An enormous three-stage set has been constructed at Buckingham Palace, where Queen and Adam Lambert will open the show, with performances by Sir Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, Sir Elton John, and many others.

Seating for 22000 guests has been installed. The guests include more than 5000 key workers from the health and public safety fields. Both of these images are renderings, not actual photos.

Big screens have been installed at St. James’s Park and the Mall in London, as well as Bute Park in Cardiff and Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. Here is a look at the complete lineup for the concert.

More about the event via a news release: 

Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow and George Ezra will share the three-stage set up with the likes of Duran Duran, Andrea Bocelli, Mimi Webb, Sam Ryder, Jax Jones, Celeste, Nile Rodgers, Sigala and Diversity – all performing their biggest hits in a star-studded tribute to Her Majesty’s unprecedented anniversary.

…[including] 70 Years of Pop Music and Musicals – the latter curated by legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, featuring a special appearance by Lloyd Webber and Lin-Manuel Miranda plus performances featuring casts and special guests from The Phantom Of The Opera, Hamilton, Six, The Lion King and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Here is a quick clip of Queen’s iconic performance during a concert marking the Golden Jubilee.

More about this year’s performance. 

Queen + Adam Lambert will open the concert with a very special one-off production which will no doubt summon memories of Brian May’s historic appearance on the Palace roof at the Golden Jubilee Concert in 2002.

Speaking for Queen + Adam Lambert, Brian May says: “Twenty years after playing The Queen’s glorious Golden Jubilee we’re very happy to be invited again. Then there was a moment when I wondered… after Buckingham Palace roof where can you go? Well … you will see!”
 

SUNDAY, JUNE 5

BIG JUBILEE LUNCH “More than ten million people across the UK are expected to be joining the celebrations to share friendship, food, and fun at Big Jubilee Lunches as part of this nationwide act of community friendship,” per the Royal Family website. Some may recall this cake cutting at the G7 reception a year ago in Cornwall.

That was the launch of the work to organize Sunday’s Big Jubilee Lunches. As Simon Perry wrote in his June 2021 People story: 

…the Queen, 95, Kate, 39, and Camilla, 73, met with volunteers who are spearheading the latest campaign to encourage people to meet up for meals and community bonding. These planners will put into motion a project that will be central to involving all Britons in next year’s Platinum Jubilee.

At this point, I am not expecting the Duke and Duchess to participate in any of the 60000+ lunches that are scheduled, but I will update the post and Kate’s Calendar page if that changes. 

PLATINUM JUBILEE PAGEANT: The big wrapup event, the Jubilee Pageant, gets underway at 2:30 pm in London, 9:30 am EDT. Very early this morning, there was a final rehearsal for Sunday’s Pageant. It included service personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force.

More from the Pageant site:

The Pageant will bring to life iconic moments from The Queen’s reign as well as showcasing our changing society over the past 70 years. 

10,000 people are involved, including the military, over 6,000 volunteers, performers, key workers and 2,500 members of the general public.

One of the pageant’s highlights is sure to be the Gold State Coach.

HM rode in the coach in June 2002 as she traveled from Buckingham Palace to St. Paul’s Cathedral for a service of Thanksgiving to mark her Golden Jubilee. Here is a better look at the iconic coach.

Here you see another view of the State Coach at this morning’s rehearsal and some of the viewing stands that have been erected by the Palace. 

While The Queen will not be riding in the coach, it will be nice seeing it again. The coach was built for King George III in 1762, and it is used very rarely. Below, a scene from the Queen’s 2002 Jubilee.

On Sunday, “the Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry will lead The Gold State Coach, drawn – as it always has been – by eight Windsor Grey horses.” (Per the Royal Family website.)

A view of the service marking HM’s Silver Jubilee in June 1977.

Her Majesty The Queen is the first British monarch to celebrate a platinum jubilee. As noted by The Telegraph: “The Queen officially made it to 70 years on the throne on Accession Day, which fell on Sunday, February 6. It is the date on which the Queen acceded to the throne on the death of her father, George VI, in 1952.”  

A spot of background from Historic Royal Palaces. 

Jubilees mark a major milestone in the reign of a Monarch, celebrating their life and service. 

The naming of these celebrations follows the traditions of wedding anniversaries: 25 years is called a Silver Jubilee, 50 years a Golden Jubilee, 60 years a Diamond Jubilee, and 70 years a Platinum Jubilee. 

Below, a scene from the Jubilee River Pageant in 2012. 

The four-part event will tell the story of the Queen’s 70-year reign, with appearances from Ed Sheeran, Alan Titchmarsh, and Sir Cliff Richard.

Now for a bit of background. The Coronation did not take place until June 2, 1953. Here you see HM her on that date, seated on the Coronation Chair, wearing the St. Edward Crown and carrying the Sovereign’s Sceptre and Rod.

Some perspective from Victoria Murphy’s Town and Country story. 

What makes the moment particularly noteworthy is that, in addition to being the first to reach 70 years, the Queen will almost certainly be the last and therefore only British monarch ever to mark a Platinum Jubilee. A reign of such length requires not only living a long life but also coming the throne young; she became Queen aged just 25 when her father died at age 56. With future monarchs looking set to consistently take over when they are older, it’s almost impossible to see how any king or queen can manage 70 years in the future.

From this New York Times story: 

Reaching this milestone puts Elizabeth in rare company. Only three monarchs are documented to have reigned more than 70 years: Louis XIV of France; Johann II of Liechtenstein; and Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, who died in 2016. Elizabeth is already the longest-serving British monarch, overtaking Queen Victoria in 2015, and the longest-serving female monarch. She would surpass Louis XIV, the Sun King, in less than three years.

King George V celebrated his Silver Jubilee in 1935.

Queen Victoria marked her Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

And now some factoids. There have been 14 US Presidents during The Queen’s reign, and with the exception of President Johnson, HM has met each one.

The Queen is fluent in French. Here you see her with France’s President, Charles de Gaulle, at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden in 1960. Also seen in the photo (from L to R): Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and Prince Philip.

HM is reported to have planted more than 1500 trees during her reign. But she also planted trees as Princess Elizabeth. Here you see her in 1937, at age 11, planting a yew tree was taken at Glamis Castle in Scotland. 

There are oodles of Jubilee-related activities, events, and merchandise. The Royal Collection Trust is offering special exhibits at three royal residences: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The exhibition in the Buckingham Palace State Rooms will feature a display looking at the Queen’s accession to the throne in February 1952. Running from July 22 through October 2, “On display will be examples from the remarkable series of portraits taken by Dorothy Wilding that formed the basis of The Queen’s image on stamps and in British embassies across the world until 1971. Also featured will be The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara.”

The Windsor Castle exhibit showcases the coronation designs worn at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953. This includes the coronation dress by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell and the silk velvet robe embroidered at the embroidered Royal School of Needlework.

At the Palace of Holyroodhouse, there will be a display featuring outfits worn by HM on occasions to celebrate the Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse exhibit runs from July 3 through September 25.

Private entities are hosting special events. At Sotheby’s London, you can see fifty tiaras worn by royals and aristocrats, including the Spencer Family tiara worn by Diana, Princess of Wales.

Also part of the exhibit, Queen Victoria’s emerald and diamond tiara, designed by Prince Albert and created by Joseph Kitching in 1845.

This exhibit runs through June 15. 

The Royal Mint has released the first of three special coins created to honor HM’s contributions to “society and the common good.”

The first coin in the collection highlights the Queen’s “role as the United Kingdom’s ‘fountain of honour’ and the system that recognises people who make an extraordinary contribution to society.” 

There was even a cooking event tied to the Jubilee. More than 5000 recipes were submitted to a contest picking the very best pudding for the Jubilee. Below, the Duchess of Cornwall and Dame Mary Berry with the contest winner, Jemma Melvin. 

Behold, the Lemon and Swiss Roll Amaretti Trifle.

It is made with layers of lemon curd Swiss roll, St. Clement’s jelly, lemon custard, mandarin coulis, amaretti biscuits, and fresh whipped cream. (You can see the recipe here.) 

One of the cutest things created to celebrate the Jubilee: the knitted pieces done by the Holmes Chapel Community Yarn Bombers. Here you see HM and two British soldiers.

More from this Manchester Evening News article. 

Residents of this pretty village have got their Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations well and truly stitched up – with yards and yards of knitted flags, bunting, bollard covers, Queens and corgis. The village centre of Holmes Chapel in Cheshire is full of the colours of red, white and blue ahead of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations next week.

And it has been mostly down to 34 women in the community who first took up knitting through lockdown to pass the time. They’ve staged a mighty collective effort to create a stunning array of knitted Jubilee themed garments that have been spread across the village.

There is even a life-size version of Her Majesty.

Legoland Windsor has put together a Platinum Jubilee display complete with Trooping the Colour. 

There is even a special Twitter emoji for the Jubilee. If you use any of the following hashtags on Twitter, your post will be accompanied by this cute little Corgi named PJ.

Here is the list of hashtags that will trigger the puppy’s appearance. 

On Instagram, there is a similar setup.

TV VIEWING (Updated with US viewing options) :

  • In the UK, you can see all of the major events on BBC One, with news coverage being carried on other networks like Sky News, which is planning extensive live coverage. 
  • UPDATE: ABC News will air a two-hour primetime special showcasing the Party at the Palace, from 8-10 pm on Saturday night. (More info here.) 
  • UPDATE #2: TheDaily Beast reports that US viewers can watch Sky News coverage on the network’s YouTube channel; it is not blocked in the US. 
  • UPDATE #3: All major US networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC) are doing extensive live and taped coverage of the events during their morning shows.  
  • On its YouTube page, ITN’s Royal Family Channel is promoting live coverage of Sunday’s Pageant.    
  • In Canada (and some US markets bordering Canada), look for events on CBC, CBC News Network, and CBC Gem
  • Check online for livestreams from some events. I will post links on the Kate’s Calendar page if I learn of any.   
  • BBC America does not show any Jubilee programming on its schedule.  
  • The best option for many outside the UK may be a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This story from PC Mag offers more info. 
  • CBS News is airing a one-hour special on Thursday at 10pm, Her Majesty The Queen: A Gayle King Special. (See the promo in the ‘video’ section.) 

A remarkable BBC documentary titled Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen aired this past weekend in the UK. Unfortunately, it was not available in the US and many other countries. I signed up for a service called BritBox, a joint endeavor of the BBC and ITV, in the hope of watching the doc via the service, but it was not available. In social media posts, BritBox US says, “Trooping the Colours” is not yet available in our list of upcoming shows for BritBox US.” When asked about the concert, the company responded, saying, “we appreciate your support of The Queens Platinum Jubilee Event. At this time, we can’t confirm if The Queens Platinum Jubilee concert will be available to watch on BritBox.” Another service offering some live programming from the UK is Acorn TV. 

LINKAGE

VIDEOS

Here is a portion of the BBC documentary mentioned above, a 4:45 segment on the Coronation. 
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This video from Buckingham Palace shows some of the preps at the Palace. 
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Another portion of the BBC documentary was posted on the Royal Family Facebook page. 

Here is a preview of the CBS special airing at 10pm Thursday night.
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The Platinum Jubilee Pageant folks share video of preps for just one element of the Pageant.  

The Royal Family Channel offers coverage of some events and work underway for the Jubilee.  
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The folks at the Platinum Jubilee Pageant have a quick 45-seconds in advance of Sunday’s pageant. 

The folks at Legoland Windsor have created a Jubilee scene. 

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