Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II | Sunday Observer

Platinum Jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II

20 February, 2022

At the beginning of 2022, it was announced that Queen Elizabeth II who is 96, would mark her Platinum Jubilee of the coronation this year. Buckingham Palace has unveiled a full line-up of celebrations on January 10, to celebrate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.

The anniversary of her accession fell on February 6, 2022. She became the first British monarch to celebrate seven decades of wearing the crown on February 6. The nearest monarch who recorded this type of height was Queen Victoria with 63 years on the throne. Other monarchs who marked platinum jubilee were Louis XIV of France (in 18th century), Johann II, Prince of Liechtenstein, and, most recently King Bhumibol of Thailand.

While this is a great achievement in the life of Queen Elizabeth II, it has also been a day of mixed emotions for her, because it is the anniversary of the death of her father, George VI. And her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, also died in April last year. Her grandson Prince Harry is also not likely to present at the Palace when celebrating it.

Although the official date of the anniversary of her accession falls today, the main ceremonies of the Jubilee start in the first week in June this year. The Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees were also celebrated in the first week in June. It is believed that the summer time would offer a better chance of good weather than February in the UK.

Platinum Jubilee Pudding

The first event of the Platinum Jubilee is inventing a new pudding by the public. When announcing the Platinum Jubilee celebration line-up on January 10, Buckingham Palace also invited to the British public to create a pudding in tribute to the queen’s long reign. Any British resident who is at least eight years old can participate in this royal pudding competition. It will be judged by Mary Berry, the queen of television baking; Monica Galetti, a judge from the Master Chef cooking show; and Buckingham Palace head chef Mark Flanagan.

Five finalists in the competition will whip up their creations at a live event in March at the upmarket London department store Fortnum and Mason. The winning recipe will be made available to the public and the pudding will be enjoyed at Big Jubilee Lunches during the bank holiday weekend from June 2 to 5.

But why did the Palace take a pudding-making as a major event in the Platinum Jubilee celebration of the Queen? One might have that kind of question. In fact, dishes are considered an intrinsic part of the customs of the Palace celebration, and royal-inspired dishes can go on to become national favourites.

After the queen’s coronation in 1953, florist and author Constance Spry and Cordon Bleu chef Rosemary Hume came up with “coronation chicken” to mark the event — a cold chicken salad dish or sandwich filler with a mayonnaise sauce that has remained popular. And Victoria sponge cake was named after Queen Victoria, the current queen’s great-great-grandmother, who, until 2015, was the longest-reigning British monarch.

On the other hand, the word “pudding” in Britain has a broader definition than it does in the United States and generally means all desserts rather than just the soupy, gelatinous ones, according to The Washington Post review by Karla Adam. So the Buckingham Palace hopes the Platinum Pudding will become a new British favourite for generations to come.

Unveiling new coins to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee also happened last week. The coins were unveiled by the Royal Mint. They feature the monarch’s insignia, the number of years being celebrated, and an image of the queen riding on horseback.

A show at Windsor Castle

The next event of the Platinum Jubilee is a 90-minute show at Windsor Castle where more than 500 horses and 1,000 performers participate in, taking the audience on a journey through history from Elizabeth I (in 16th-century) to present day. This will unfold from May 12 to 15, and also be televised.

The main celebrations of the Jubilee take place from June 2 to 5 which is already dubbed Jubilee Weekend because Buckingham Palace has announced a four-day public holiday for these days in the United Kingdom - to create the four-day weekend, the late May Spring Bank Holiday will be moved to June 2 and an additional one-off bank holiday on June 3 created.

“The [public] holiday will provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone,” HARPER’S BAZAAR web site quoted a Buckingham Palace spokesperson. “The four days of celebrations will include public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on the queen’s 70 years of service.”

June 2 will see ‘Trooping the Colour’ held in full for the first time since the pandemic. There will be more than 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians taking part.

Also that day, Platinum Jubilee beacons will be lit in more than 1,500 locations across the UK, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories. The capital cities of Commonwealth countries will also light beacons for the first time, even though some of those states have parted ways with the British monarchy.

On June 3, the second day of the Bank Holiday weekend, a Service of Thanksgiving for the Queen’s reign will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral.

On Saturday, June 4, the Queen will be joined by members of the Royal Family at the Derby, at Epsom Downs. There will also be a Platinum Party at Buckingham Palace, with members of the public invited to apply to attend a live concert. Performers have yet to be named, but it is billed as bringing together some of the world’s biggest stars to celebrate the most significant moments from the Queen’s seven-decade reign.

On Sunday, June 5, people across the country will be invited to sit down together to take part in the Big Jubilee Lunch, with street parties held across the UK. That day’s events will also include the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, which will feature 5,000 people from the UK and the Commonwealth performing around the area of Buckingham Palace. The palace promises “pomp and ceremony, street arts, theatre, music, circus, costumes as well as cutting-edge visual technology”.

Primary and secondary school children are also invited to create a picture of their hopes and aspirations for the planet over the next 70 years. A selection of these will be transferred on to silk flags, which will carried by secondary school pupils in the pageant.

In July, three displays marking the Queen’s accession to the throne, the coronation and jubilees will be put on at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. It will include portraits as well as the jewellery and outfits worn for each occasion.

During the Platinum Weekend, two of the queen’s private residences — Sandringham and Balmoral — will also be open to visitors. Street parties will be planned across the country as well.

Queen’s Green Canopy

Jubilee initiatives started last year. It began with the Queen’s Green Canopy under which more than 60,000 trees have been planted across Britain, and they will continue to be planted until March 2023. As well as marking the occasion, it is hoped that the saplings—which are being recorded on a digital map—will eventually become forests and urban green areas for future generations to enjoy.

Royal jubilees tend to be a high-water mark for pageantry, which is saying a lot in Britain. According to the facts, during the queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the monarch led a 1,000-vessel flotilla down the River Thames. Music legends Paul McCartney, Elton John and Stevie Wonder serenaded the queen at a concert on a purpose-built stage outside Buckingham Palace.

This is the Queen’s first jubilee without the Duke of Edinburgh at her side – though he missed much of her diamond jubilee in 2012 after becoming ill following the Thames River Pageant. Her 2002 golden jubilee year was blighted by the deaths of her sister, Princess Margaret, and her mother.

Overshadowing incidents

However, the grandeur of the Jubilee celebrations is also overshadowed by some incidents. One big question is whether Harry and Meghan will be on the palace balcony along with other members of the royal family for the June festivities.

“You would expect the Sussexes to return to the UK for that, if not beforehand. So that could be the first opportunities for the Queen to meet the newest member of the Sussex family, Lilibet,” told The Guardian.

Lilibet, named after the Queen’s family nickname, is daughter of Harry and Meghan who are now living in the US. For the moment, Harry has announced that he cannot return to UK unless he has the opportunity to hire the private security for his family. When he and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, stepped back from royal duties in 2020, he lost his taxpayer-funded police security in the UK. The Prince is seeking a judicial review to personally pay for the protection. Harry was in London in July for the unveiling of a statue of his mother, Diana, but Charles has still not met Lilibet.

Another problem is that Prince Harry is now going to publish his memoir, most probably bomb shelling the Royal family. Penguin Random House, the publisher of the book, has described the memoir as an “honest” and “inspiring, courageous and uplifting human story”. Harry, who is working with the Pulitzer Prize winner JR Moehringer as his ghostwriter, has said: “I’m writing this not as the prince I was born but as the man I have become.”

A spokesman told The Guardian: “It will become an international bestseller, but at what cost to the monarchy?” So this also affects to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations badly.

The next issue is the Duke of York, Prince Andrew’s court case. His legal battle with Virginia Roberts Giuffre (in U.S.), who has alleged that he sexually abused her when she was aged 17, while being trafficked by Jeffrey Epstein, could be the blackest cloud on the horizon. The allegations are strongly denied by Andrew, with his lawyers asking for the case to be dismissed. If the case is not dismissed, the New York judge Lewis Kaplan is aiming for trial between September and December, and has announced that depositions for the case must be submitted by July 14, 2022.

Andrew’s name had already featured in the Ghislaine Maxwell criminal case, which last week resulted in Maxwell, a friend of Andrew’s, being convicted on five of the six charges she faced relating to sex trafficking teenage victims of Jeffrey Epstein’s.

According to The Guardian, the Queen is reportedly footing the legal bill for her second son in the civil action case brought against Andrew by Giuffre.

“At this time of her reign she should be sailing towards glorious, golden uplands, yet she has had a lot of stress – not only Harry and Andrew, but also Brexit, and possibly Scottish independence,” royal historian Hugo Vickers has said to The Guardian.

Popular Queen

In this scenario, presumably, the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II is not an easy one for the royal family. However, the amazing thing is that she is still so much popular among Britons. The main reason for it is her simplicity, humbleness and her kindness. The Jubilee celebrations are also a reminder of how much the Queen has been a constant figure.

According to the BBC news, a recent study has shown that for 85 percent of the population she’s the only monarch they’ve ever known. In a way, she is the only Queen that we Sri Lankans have also ever known.