Sound the trumpets and gather ye corgis, the queen’s Platinum Jubilee has commenced. Thursday marked the first of Queen Elizabeth’s four-day celebration honoring her 70 years of “service” as the presiding royal of the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth. Hell yeah, Lizzie.
The months leading up to this weekend’s jubilee have not be easy. The queen has survived death hoaxes, COVID-19, having to forgo her nightly martini, and being photographed with her disgraced son all for this moment. So … what exactly is all the royal hubbub about? Come along, plebes. Allow me to explain.
What is the Platinum Jubilee?
On February 6, Queen Elizabeth became the first British monarch to be in power for seven decades. This is particularly remarkable because the queen is famously very young. As we all know, the royals have a habit of excessive celebrations and bizarre traditions. Obviously, they’re going to go HAM for the queen’s 70th anniversary.
Where and when is the Platinum Jubilee?
From June 2 to 5, events and celebrations honoring the queen will take place across the U.K. The long weekend has even been designated as a bank holiday. According to the official Platinum Jubilee website, over 7,000 public events, street parties, and private gatherings have been organized in Queen Elizabeth’s honor. In this sense, the Platinum Jubilee is everywhere all the time.
How will the royals be celebrating the Platinum Jubliee?
A handful of those 7,000 events are part of Queen Elizabeth’s official celebration. On Thursday, the Platinum Jubilee kicked off with Trooping the Colour, a big parade that featured lots of military pageantry and appearances by members of the royal family including Prince William, Kate Middleton, and the queen herself. The event culminated in the royals waving from the balcony of Buckingham Palace and watching a military flyby.
On Friday, the royals will celebrate … Thanksgiving? St. Paul’s Cathedral will hold a service of thanksgiving in honor of her 70-year reign. Despite its name, we will not get to watch the queen house some stuffing or fight with Prince George over a turkey wishbone. Instead, the church will simply ring a big old bell.
Saturday’s events include the derby at Epsom Downs — the queen loves herself some horses — and a Platinum Party at the palace. That party will include performances and appearances by the band Queen, Adam Lambert, Andrew Lloyd Webber, George Ezra, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alicia Keys, Elton John, Diana Ross, and a band called Elbow.
Sunday marks the last day of the Platinum Jubilee and includes what is officially called the Big Jubilee Lunch. This involves people across the world eating a meal in the queen’s honor. I assume the meal will end with everyone taking a shot of Salad Queen, a commemorative mayo-based dressing for the Platinum Jubilee. Then there will be a four-part pageant with various music and dance performances, fashion shows, tributes to the evolution of British culture over the past 70 years, and, of course, a sing-along with Ed Sheeran.
All the events will be available to watch live on BBC One or to stream afterward on BBC iPlayer.
Who will be there?
Members of the queen’s immediate family — Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their three children — waved from the palace balcony after Trooping the Colour. Despite questions about their attendance, Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, and their children were present for the parade. Because they chose to step back from their royal duties in 2020, they were not invited onto the balcony, but they did make a splash at the Thanksgiving service on Friday. Meanwhile, Prince Andrew announced that he wouldn’t be attending the Thanksgiving service on Friday — not due to his recently settled sex-abuse lawsuit but because he has COVID.
Thursday’s Trooping of the Colour had a few unexpected guests: animal-rights activists. A couple of protestors jumped the barriers at the parade, demanding an end to hunting on royal land. They were swiftly escorted off the parade path by royal guards.
Will Queen Elizabeth be at all the events?
After her appearance at Thursday’s Trooping the Colour, Queen Elizabeth has withdrawn from her scheduled appearance for Thanksgiving on Friday. According to an official statement by the palace, the queen “did experience some discomfort” during the military parade. “Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate in tomorrow’s National Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty with great reluctance has concluded she will not attend,” the palace said. It’s unclear what “discomfort” she was feeling, but the queen has reportedly had some trouble walking in recent months.
Over the weekend of Jubilee celebrations, it was unclear which events the Queen would be able to attend, but she ended up surprising the public with a balcony appearance on Sunday. From the balcony, she enjoyed “God Save the Queen” and fireworks alongside Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton, and her great-grand children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
Anything else to know?
Yes. On Thursday, 4-year-old Prince Louis couldn’t be arsed to care about his grandma’s big, special fake birthday. He thought the planes were too loud and appeared to do a little scream about it:
He continued to steal the show on Sunday, taking us all on a roller coaster of emotions as he took in the Platinum Jubilee Pageant with his family.
Another very silly highlight from the Platinum Jubilee was the Queen’s collab with Paddington the bear. Though she had to miss the Platinum Jubilee concert on Saturday night, the monarch helped kick off the event with a pre-taped skit featuring the marmalade-loving bear (voiced by Ben Wishaw).
Buckingham Palace released a statement on the Queen’s sketch, saying in part that “the opportunity to invite a famous bear to tea was just too much fun to miss.”