Platinum Jubilee: 4 days of celebrations in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th jubilee

LONDON – The four-day celebrations honoring Queen Elizabeth II in honor of her 70th jubilee began Thursday with a display of British military traditions spanning from the days of horses and cannons to the jet age.

Formal celebrations of the platinum jubilee began with Trooping the Color, an annual military revue that has marked the sovereign’s official birthday since 1760. The Queen is expected to join the working members of her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the event, as 70 aircraft roar in the sky.

The anniversary will be celebrated with a four-day holiday weekend. Celebrations of Elizabeth’s reign include a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday, a concert at Buckingham Palace on Saturday and a pageant on Sunday afternoon featuring thousands of performers from schools and community groups across the country.

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Throughout the weekend, community organizations and individuals will host thousands of street parties across the country, repeating a tradition that began with the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

The 96-year-old Queen is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the first to reach the milestone of seven decades on the throne. The anniversary gives many people – including those who are often indifferent to the monarchy – an opportunity to reflect on the state of the nation and the great changes that have taken place during her reign.

Former Prime Minister John Major – one of 14 prime ministers during the Queen’s reign – said the monarch’s stoic presence has helped guide the country over the decades.

“The Queen has represented our better selves for over 70 years,” he told the BBC.

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In a written anniversary message, the Queen thanked the people of Britain and across the Commonwealth who were involved in organizing the celebrations. For many, the occasion marks the first opportunity for a big party since the coronavirus pandemic began more than two years ago.

“I know that these festive occasions will create many fond memories,” Elizabeth said.

“I remain inspired by the goodwill shown to me and hope that the coming days will be an opportunity to look back on all that has been achieved over the past 70 years, while we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm,” she said said.

Congratulations came from world leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron called Elizabeth “the golden thread connecting our two countries” and one of the “very few constants” on the international stage.

“You are our friend, such a close ally, our example of service to others,” Macron told the Queen in a video message.

The name of the long weekend’s first event, Trooping the Color, refers to a regimental flag or ‘color’ being drawn through the ranks. Britain’s annual Queen’s Birthday tradition is a ceremonial re-enactment of the way soldiers were once shown battle flags to ensure they would recognize a crucial rallying point should they become disoriented in battle.

The participating troops are drawn from the Army’s Household Department, made up of the seven regiments performing ceremonial duties for the Queen. Its members are fully trained soldiers and are often deployed abroad when not on ceremonial duty.

Each year, a different unit has the honor of wearing their color. The 1st Battalion Irish Guards will be in the spotlight during the Platinum Jubilee.

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Thousands of people, some camped overnight, lined the parade route – many wearing Union Jack flags, party hats or plastic tiaras.

Carly Martin, who took a late-night bus from south London with her daughter, said she came “to make memories”.

“You’ll never see that again in your life,” she said. “At least not in mine, maybe not in my daughter’s. … Seventy years – that’s all I’ve ever known.”

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The Queen is expected to appear twice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, but Prince Charles will play a key role during the event, taking the salute on behalf of his mother from passing soldiers. Elizabeth had been having trouble getting around lately, and her courtiers were careful to make things as easy as possible for her.

The Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their children, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence traveled by carriage to Horse Guards Parade, a ceremonial parade ground in St James’s Park.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will join other royals to watch the spectacle. The couple have traveled from their home in California to attend the celebrations.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc7.com/queen-jubilee-elizabeth-70-years-platinum/11917788/ Platinum Jubilee: 4 days of celebrations in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th jubilee

Laura Coffey

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