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Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Buckingham Palace in London
Buckingham Palace in London (photo courtesy of my friend Jamie)

The 6th February is the Queen's Accession Day - the day when she became Queen. This year it marks the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen. Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for 70 years - the longest reign in British history.

On this day in 1952 King George VI died in his sleep, aged 56. Princess Elizabeth who had taken her father's place on a tour of the Commonwealth was at a Royal Hunting Lodge in Kenya at the time. She immediately became Queen at the age of 25 - Queen Elizabeth II. Did you know: the first Queen Elizabeth was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She reigned between 1558 and 1603. Queen Elizabeth II wore a crown on her Coronation Day which contained 4 pearls which are believed to have been the ear-rings of Queen Elizabeth I ! Cinemas and theatres were all closed across the country as news of the King's death spread, all sporting fixtures were cancelled and all BBC programmes except for news bulletins were cancelled. Upon receiving the news the Queen abandoned the tour and flew back to the UK to take the Royal Oath. The coronation took place over a year later at Westminster Abbey on the 2nd June 1953. Did you know: Westminster Abbey has been used for every coronation since 1066. Before then it took place where convenient - there was even a coronation in Bath! The coronation service used for Queen Elizabeth II descends directly from the one that was created for the coronation in Bath! The Queen's coronation was the first coronation to be broadcast on TV.

On previous Jubilees there have been celebrations and events across the country to mark the occasion and the same will be true for the Platinum Jubilee - the country's first Platinum Jubilee! There will be events throughout the year but the main celebrations and events will take place between Thursday 2nd June and Sunday 5th June - 4 days of celebration. Both the Thursday and Friday will be public holidays in the UK. I have listed some of the key events below:

Thursday 2nd June:

The Queen's Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour) which traditionally takes place on the second Saturday of June will be moved to Thursday 2nd June as part of the celebrations. Over 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians will take part in the traditional parade down the Mall in London and will be joined by members of the Royal Family on horse-back and in carriages. A limited number of tickets are available for the public to watch the Queen review the soldiers at the Horse Guards Parade. Tickets cost between £10 and £30. The ballot for tickets closes on the 7th March. If you are interested in a chance to attend this please click here for more information.

Saturday 4th June:

Buckingham Palace will host a Platinum Party - a live music concert bringing together famous musicians to celebrate key moments from the Queen's reign. The event will be broadcast on the BBC. If you are a UK resident you can enter a ballot to get tickets to be in the audience!

Sunday 5th June:

A Big Jubilee Lunch will take place across the country. The idea is for neighbours to get together to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee with food and fun via street parties, picnics, barbecues. You can expect buntings, cream teas and more! This will also be the chance for people to try their hand at making the Platinum Pudding! At the time of writing we don't know what this pudding will be. A national competition is being held to create a brand new pudding dedicated to the Queen - the Platinum Pudding. All UK residents aged 8 and above had the opportunity to submit a recipe before the end of the 4th February. Dame Mary Berry (who was born and grew up in Bath!) is the Chair of the judges for this competition. The winning recipe will be announced in the week commencing 14th March. I am hoping it will be something sweet! Did you know: Coronation Chicken was invented for the foreign guests who were being entertained after the coronation in 1953!

The Platinum Jubilee Pageant is also scheduled to take place in London on the Sunday. This event/carnival will include street art, theatre, music, circus, costume and the "River of Hope" where 200 silk flags are carried down the Mall by school children.

Throughout these 4 days events are also being planned for visitors and local residents at Sandringham and Balmoral.

Did you know: to mark the Platinum Jubilee a competition is being held to bestow city status onto an existing town. 38 towns are competing for this. Similar competitions took place on previous Jubilees. Contrary to belief, they do not need to have a cathedral to become a city! 12 existing cities are also competing to be awarded a Lord Provost or Lord Mayor status as part of the Jubilee celebrations - Bath is one of these 12 cities! This is a distinction which is awarded to a few, usually long-established and important cities. There are currently 31 cities with this status in the UK.

For more information regarding the Platinum Jubilee you can visit a website created by the UK Government here or the Royal Family's website here.

If you are in England between the 2nd and 5th June please be prepared for the disruption these events may cause - but more importantly: make sure you make the most of being in England during this historic occasion!

The official emblem for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
The official emblem for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

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