Queen’s Platinum Jubilee what’s on and how to watch at home

Across the UK, from 2 to 5 June, thousands of Brits have signed up to have street parties as royal mania sweeps the nation.

It’s estimated the country will spend more than £823 million marking Her Majesty The Queen’s 70 years of service to the people of the UK, the Realms and the Commonwealth.

Members of the military, key workers, volunteers and the biggest stars from across the globe will come together for this unprecedented anniversary.

But of course the jewel in the crown of all the festivities will be the Queen herself – the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.

Here, we highlight the events to look out for, and the Queen’s former press secretary – royal commentator Dickie Arbiter – explains their relevance.

All you need to do now is roll out the bunting, wave a flag and raise a toast…

2 June – Trooping The Colour

Set against a backdrop of Buckingham Palace, the Trooping the Colour birthday parade will comprise over 1,200 officers and soldiers, 400 musicians and around 240 horses. Starting at 11am, the grand procession will make its way between the palace and Horse Guards Parade, along The Mall. Thousands are expected to line the route and, although seated tickets for the event are sold out, huge screens will be erected around St James’s Park in the capital for royal fans to watch the action up close. It will also be broadcast live on the BBC and Sky.

The Queen is expected to watch from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, but the overall number of royals has been reduced to members of the family who are “currently undertaking official public duties”, meaning the Duke of York and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are excluded. A Royal Gun Salute will also be fired. The long established tradition, which has run for over 260 years, is set to be even more spectacular in the wake of the pandemic, says royal expert Dickie Arbiter. “It will be the first time this has happened properly since 2019 because of Covid. And 2 June is also the 69th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, so there’s even more reason for a big, full-blown parade,” he adds.

Proceedings will draw to a close with a jaw-dropping, six-minute flypast made up of more than 70 aircraft from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force. The display of three times as many aircraft as appeared in the Queen’s last birthday flypast in 2019 will include an aerobatic performance courtesy of the Red Arrows.

3 June – Platinum Jubilee Beacons

We’ll be looking skywards again as fireworks whizz overhead and more than 1,500 community and commonwealth beacons are lit, in a long-held tradition of celebrating royal jubilees, weddings and coronations. A string of beacons will light up the night skies throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories, as well as one in each Commonwealth country’s capital.

The lighting the beacons ceremony will begin on Thursday evening. The principal beacon involving the Tree of Trees – a 21-metre high living tree sculpture made up of 350 smaller trees – will be lit up in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Expect a real night-time spectacle, with projections onto the front of the palace, too.

Members of Girlguiding will light a further 70 beacons up and down the country, while former servicemen and women from Walking With The Wounded will light theirs at the top of the highest peaks in each of the UK’s four nations.

Many more community beacons will be lit by different groups throughout the country and around the world, including 54 in the Commonwealth’s capital cities. “This is the first time the beacons will also be lit in capital cities of the Commonwealth, so it’s very significant,” says Dickie.

At sunset, pipers across the world will unite to play Diu Regnare, a tune specially composed for the jubilee.

3 June – Service Of Thanksgiving

Held at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, around 2,000 dignitaries, royals, political and religious leaders from across the Commonwealth are expected to attend. The ceremony dates back to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Dickie says, “The service of thanksgiving is always a must on such a special occasion, bringing together so many different people with links to the monarch.” Great Paul, the largest church bell in the country, will be rung for the service. It was made in 1882, but fell silent in the 1970s due to a broken mechanism. Now restored, this is the first royal occasion where it will chime.

4 June – The Derby at Epsom Downs

Having always loved horse racing, it’s hoped the Queen will grace the royal box during the Derby at Epsom Downs Racecourse – one of the world’s best-known events. She’s never had a winner in the race, and sadly her horses have pulled out this year.

4 June – Platinum Party at the Palace

Get ready to turn up the volume on your TV and dance. Hosts Kirsty Young and Roman Kemp will lead live coverage as performers take to three stages and 3D projections light up the front of Buckingham Palace.

The epic gig will air live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and Radio 2. It will see famous faces brought together for a night of musical tributes and celebration. They will include Queen + Adam Lambert, George Ezra, Sir Elton John, David Beckham, Sir David Attenborough, Ellie Simmonds, Diversity and Eurovision’s Sam Ryder.

There will be 22,000 people in attendance, including 10,000 picked in a public ballot and 5,000 tickets for key workers.

5 June – Platinum Jubilee Pageant

Commemorating the most significant and joyous moments of the Queen’s reign, the carnival style pageant will feature marching bands and circus performers, as well as horses and corgis to represent her lifelong love of the animals. The pageant is based on a story by children’s author Sir Michael Morpurgo and it has been organised into four acts – For Queen And Country, The Time Of Our Lives, Let’s Celebrate and Happy And Glorious. Among the 10,000 people involved are military personnel, figures from music, film, sport and the arts, volunteers and key workers.

A fleet of Dames in Jags including Joan Collins, Arlene Phillips and Lesley Lawson, better known as Twiggy, are expected to join other women honoured by the Queen as they travel in Jaguars down The Mall as part of the event, also dubbed the People’s Pageant. Holly Willoughby and Shirley Ballas are also understood to be taking part. Huge puppets – including giant corgis – will be paraded along the route, which stretches almost two miles. Acrobats and BMX stunt cyclists will also perform along the way. Meanwhile, a giant dragon with a wingspan as wide as The Mall will pull in the crowds, and 200 flags designed by schoolchildren will be carried as a River Of Hope, to the accompaniment of a 100-strong brass and percussion band.

Fittingly, a special Thank You dance will also pay tribute to key workers during the pandemic, as well as young people and volunteers. Dickie says, “Many Commonwealth countries will take part in the pageant, too, so it’s not just a big celebration for the UK.”

Giant TV screens will be erected across the country for people to watch the pageant, which is expected to draw around a billion viewers around the world. The celebration will culminate with Ed Sheeran leading a singalong finale. The Jubilee Pageant will be only the eighth such pageant in history. The first was held for King George III in 1809.

Other Key Events – The Big Jubilee Lunch

More than 60,000 people have registered to host a Big Jubilee Lunch during the celebrations, with events ranging from world record attempts for the longest street party to back garden barbecues and everything in between.

Across the UK, more than 10 million people are expected to get involved in the festivities, sharing friendship, food and fun as part of this nationwide act of community friendship.

People around the world are also joining in with more than 600 international lunches being planned throughout the Commonwealth and beyond – from Canada to Brazil, New Zealand to Japan and South Africa to Switzerland.

Other Key Events – TV Jubilee Specials

The occasion is being marked by a host of specials including The Jubilee Pudding: 70 Years In The Baking, Bargain Hunt with a regal twist and Songs Of Praise. CBBC will also be celebrating with a Blue Peter jubilee takeover special at 5pm on Friday 3 June, as well as other jubilee specials on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 from 9am.

Other Key Events – Design a Flag

Schoolchildren have been busily creating flag designs representing their hopes and aspirations for the future of the planet over the next 70 years. Two hundred have been chosen to be turned into silk flags and flown during the Jubilee Pageant.

Other Key Events – The Queen’s Green Canopy

With people across the UK urged to plant a tree for the jubilee, it’s estimated that if every household with a garden did so, there would be 22 million more trees in the country, making Britain greener than ever.

Other Key Events – Jubilee Exhibitions

A series of special exhibitions exploring the Queen’s long reign will be held at her official residences from July onwards.

In the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, the public can view portraits of the Queen by photographer Dorothy Wilding. And in the palace’s Royal Mews, some of the royals’ historic carriages will be on show.

At Windsor Castle, the Queen’s coronation dress and Robe of Estate will be on display, and other outfits she’s worn at previous jubilee events will be unveiled at Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse.

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