Britain’s streets are decked out with flags, tea parties have been planned and cakes baked as the country gets set to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s unprecedented 70 years on the throne.
Beginning Thursday, the country will hail its highly popular monarch with four days of pageantry and parties as she becomes the first to celebrate an anniversary billed as the Platinum Jubilee. As her reign enters what is likely its closing act, the jubilee represents a moment of light for the queen, her family and the country after two dark years marked by the Covid-19 pandemic, the death of Prince Philip and royal scandals.
Join us as we follow along with the royal festivities in London and beyond.
What to expect today:
Tributes begin to come in from world leaders
French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett are among the first world leaders to pay homage to the queen today.
Speaking in English, Macron said in a video message that the queen was a rare constant between the two European neighbors amid seven decades of change and upheaval. He described her as “the golden thread that binds our two countries.”
French president pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on her Platinum Jubilee
June 2, 202200:52
Bennett tweeted his “heartfelt congratulations” on the queen’s 70 years of “dedicated service which she continues to undertake with dignity and grace.”
Opening event of Platinum Jubilee will see 96-year-old queen break with tradition
LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II will break with decades of tradition at the opening of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Rather than take the salute from parading military members on the ground, she will receive a salute from the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the palace said in a statement.
The “Trooping the Color” — involving more than 1,500 officers and soldiers and 350 horses from the army’s Household Division — will take place as normal at Horse Guards Parade, less than a mile from Buckingham Palace.
But this year, Elizabeth, 96, will not attend the long ceremony. Instead, Prince Charles will take the salute and inspect the troops on his mother’s behalf, the statement said. He will be joined by his son Prince William and sister, Princess Anne, it added. Other members of the royal family will also watch, it said.
Read the full story here.
Crowds line London parade route hours before Jubilee events kick off
LONDON — Thousands of people streamed toward Buckingham Palace in central London early on this sunny Thursday morning.
Many turned up hours before the first jubilee event to grab their spots close to The Mall, an iconic roadway leading up to the palace where a parade procession will take place to kick off the four days of festivities.
There were smiles abound and a jovial mood in the air after what has been a tough period for the country.
Some were decked out in Union Jack-themed hats and shirts, while others wore tiaras and even ball gowns to celebrate the queen. Many came equipped with lawn chairs and blankets, having breakfast by the metal barricades erected along the parade route. By 8 am, there were already 4 to 5 rows of spectators lining the route, tightly guarded by hundreds of security and police officers.
Nearly all store fronts around central London were also decked out in celebratory bunting as the country unites in a rare show of national pride.
Queen honors past, present and future with jubilee message
The queen has kicked off the long jubilee weekend with a message thanking everyone involved in marking the occasion. She said it was a moment to reflect on the achievements during her 70-year reign, and hoped the country could “look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”
To mark the event a new portrait of the monarch has been released:
New Zealand marks Queen’s Platinum Jubilee with 21-gun salute
Super fans camp out to celebrate Queen’s legacy close-up
LONDON — Royal superfans have been camped out in tents by Buckingham Palace for days leading up to the festivities. Among those in the prime spots closest to the action was Mary-Jane Willows, 69, from Cornwall and fellow royal follower Donna Werner, 70, who traveled all the way from Connecticut to celebrate the Queen’s legacy.
“She has never faltered, she has never waivered, she has never made a wrong step,” Willows said. “I think she is a role model for all of us.”
The two friends met at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in 2011 and have been attending royal events together ever since. For Willows, braving the chilly London nights sleeping on a tiny mattress was worth it to celebrate this anniversary.
“[The Queen] has given her service every day of the year for 70 years. We are here for one weekend to say the best way we can — ‘thank you,’” Willows, 69, said.
Also among the well-wishers was mother and daughter Lin Quinn and Lucy Edwards who were enjoying their high tea with a glass of champagne. The pair traveled about 100 miles from Bristol to be there.
“It’s such an amazing thing that if you stayed at home and watched it on TV, it’s not as good as being at the real thing, being part of it,” Quinn, 72, wearing a headband with two small Union Jacks on her head, said.
She and her four siblings attended the queen’s coronation in 1952, Quinn said, but she has little recollection of it as she was very young. She said the Queen deserves all the attention and the “special treatment” for the commitment she has shown to her people. “She has given it everything,” she added.
Edwards, 50, said camping out is worth it because “a celebration like this won’t happen again.”
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in miniature created in Lego bricks
A big royal party for Britain’s much-loved monarch
LONDON — Few nations have thrown a party like this.
Queen Elizabeth II is the world’s third-longest serving monarch in recorded history, and the longest of any British or female sovereign. On the throne since 1952 — a time closer to the Statue of Liberty’s completion than it is to the present day — she has become an unshakable emblem of British soft power and perhaps the nation’s most recognizable celebrity around the world.
The four-day festival of royal pageantry and public partying will see the country celebrate the queen’s 70-year reign for what may be the final time on such a grand national stage.
Read the full story here.
Queen makes Britain great, well-wishers waiting for Platinum Jubilee say
What is Trooping the Color?
The queen’s birthday parade, known as Trooping the Color, will kick off the four-day Platinum Jubilee festivities.
This annual event has now marked the official birthday of the British Sovereign for over 260 years, though it hasn’t been held in public since 2019 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Celebrated in June, the parade traditionally marches down The Mall, the street that runs from Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade, the ceremonial parade ground located just over half a mile away. The grand display of military pageantry will this year include more than 1,200 officers and soldiers as well as hundreds of Army musicians and around 240 horses.
Members of the royal family traditionally make their way down The Mall in open carriages, waving to the gathered crowds before the queen inspects the troops and takes a salute at the parade ground. This year however, there will be one big change. For just the second time in her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth will not take the salute on the ground during the parade, instead receiving a salute from the palace balcony.
4 days of celebrations to celebrate 70 years on the throne
Four days of events are scheduled to take place across Britain to mark the 70th anniversary of the queen’s reign.
Britons are getting an extra day off work this year to mark the celebration, in addition to the traditional end of May holiday that was moved to this Thursday to make it an extra long weekend.
Central London will of course be the hub of the festivities, but street parties and big screens are being set up across the nation to celebrate the widely popular monarch.