The Glossary’s definitive guide to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations across the UK
The arrival of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is a momentous occasion in history, made all the more significant by the fact that it is unlikely to occur again in any of our lifetimes. On 6 February 2022, the Queen became the first British monarch in history to celebrate 70 years on the throne – a truly miraculous achievement which is set to be honoured all over the UK (and beyond) with a series of regal events held across a four-day weekend at the beginning of June. From the Trooping of the Colour and the Lighting of the Beacons to the BBC’s concert at the Palace and street parties taking place throughout the land, it’s set to be a weekend like no other. Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The key dates for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations
While the anniversary itself fell earlier in the year, on 6 February, the main celebrations are scheduled over four days in early June, to coincide with the arrival of warmer weather and the Queen’s official birthday, which usually falls on the second Saturday in June. It’s also a way of carrying on recent traditions, as the celebrations for the Silver Jubilee in 1977, the Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the Diamond Jubilee in 2012 all took place during the summer. The main events are being held from Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June. To create the special four-day weekend, an extra one-off bank holiday has been granted on Friday 3 June, while the spring bank holiday, which usually falls in late May, has been moved to Thursday 2 June.
The pre-June events to know about
Ahead of the main celebrations in June, there are several key activities taking place to mark the momentous occasion. First up in the Queen’s Green Canopy, a year-long endeavour which encourages people across the UK to “plant a tree for the Jubilee”. Many of the country’s top estates are taking part in the scheme, which has been conceived to create 70 major new woods and forests, as well as hundreds of copses and wealds. Over 60,000 trees have already been planted as part of this fitting tribute, which will be enjoyed by generations to come.
Thousands of people entered the historic Platinum Pudding Competition, a nationwide baking contest devoted to creating a brand-new dessert in honour of the Queen. Held in partnership with Fortnum & Mason and judged by Mary Berry and Monica Galetti, the finals were televised in a special TV broadcast on BBC One on 12 May, with Jemma Melvin being crowned the winner for her Lemon Swiss Roll and Amaretti Trifle. The recipe is now available to the public, so you can expect it to take centre stage at the numerous street parties taking place across the weekend.
There are also several royal exhibitions happening across London, as well as the Platinum Jubilee Celebration: A Gallop Through History, a show that took place in the grounds of Windsor Castle between 12 – 15 May. More than 1,000 performers and 500 horses came together for a 90-minute tribute to the Queen, which took the audience from the days of Elizabeth I to the present. A stellar cast took part, including Tom Cruise, Damian Lewis and Helen Mirren, with the latter taking on the role of the Tudor queen. The extravaganza was televised live on ITV on Sunday 15 May and is available to re-watch on catch up.
The main events taking place over the Platinum Jubilee weekend
The celebrations kick off on Thursday 2 June, starting with the annual Trooping of the Colour, which sees more than 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians come together in a great display of military precision, horsemanship and fanfare. Beginning at Buckingham Palace, the procession then moves down The Mall to Horse Guards Parade, joined by members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages. The event culminates with an RAF fly-past, which is watched by the Queen and other members of the Royal Family from the Buckingham Palace balcony (you can expect to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Prince Charles and Camilla there, but not Prince Harry, Meghan or Prince Andrew).
Also taking place on Thursday 2 June is the Lighting of the Beacons, which will see more than 1,500 beacons lit across the nation. Traditionally, the Queen personally sets fire to the first one, generally at Windsor, but this is yet to be confirmed for this year’s celebrations. The chain of beacons snakes across the country, moving from county to county until they reach the furthest tips of Cornwall and North Scotland, before moving on to the Isle of Man and the Commonwealth.
A service of thanksgiving will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 3 June, in honour of the Queen’s reign. High Commissioners, politicians, overseas Heads of State and members of the Royal Family will come together to offer a moving tribute to the sovereign. Then, on Saturday 4 June, the Queen will attend thes Derby at Epsom Downs (she never misses it), as well as the BBC’s Platinum Party at the Palace concert, which will be staged around the Queen Victoria Monument outside Buckingham Palace. Some of the biggest names from the world of music will be taking part, including Queen and Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys and Sir Rod Stewart, with soul singer Diana Ross closing the show and Sir Elton John taking part via a pre-recorded performance. As well as the musical performances, there will also be appearances from legendary film, TV and sports stars, such as Sir David Attenborough, Emma Raducanu, David Beckham, Stephen Fry and Dame Julie Andrews. The show will be watched by 22,000 people live, as well as being broadcast on BBC One on 4 June.
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant
The weekend will end with two key events on Sunday 5 June. The first is the Big Jubilee Lunch, which will see thousands of royal-lovers across the country throw their own street parties in honour of Her Majesty, with more than 200,000 already slated to take place. Expect plenty of bunting, patriotic-themed tables and special Jubilee dishes. Cap things off with the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, the parade through the streets of Westminster and down The Mall to Buckingham Palace that acts as the zenith of the weekend. Almost 10,000 participants will be taking place to tell the story of the Queen’s reign, including military and creatives, key workers, dancers and performers from every corner of the land. 250 National Treasures from the past seven decades are also set to take part, from Kate Moss and Ed Sheeran to Dame Joan Collins and Twiggy.
The revelry continues
While the main events are taking place in June, that doesn’t mean the celebrations stop there. From July, three special displays that commemorate key moments of the Queen’s reign – from her accession and coronation to her previous jubilees – will be staged at several of her royal residences. Every summer sees the opening of some of the state rooms at Buckingham Palace, and this year ticket holders will also be able to see an array of early portraits of the Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding, shown alongside the dazzling jewellery she wore for the sittings. At Windsor Castle, visitors will be able to see her coronation dress and robe of estate worn in Westminster Abbey in 1953, while, at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Her Majesty’s outfits from the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees will go on display.