Platinum Jubilee: One last party for Queen Elizabeth II and the party Brits need


Platinum Jubilee: One last party for Queen Elizabeth II and the party Brits need

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LONDON — She may not be using that exact term, but Queen Elizabeth II is on the verge of a gigantic victory lap — a huzzah of applause, with a mile-long parade of horses, 3,200 bonfires and serenaded at Buckingham Palace by Sir Rod Stewart.

What’s not to like for your subjects? Her Majesty is giving Britain a four day weekend to celebrate her 70th anniversary on the throne, her platinum anniversary.

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Thousands and thousands of street parties, garden meals and park picnics are planned for Sunday. The amount of jubilee pudding and coronation chicken, bubbly prosecco and strong ale to drink? Almost unpredictable.

Britain is decidedly in the mood for a party, not only to honor the Queen’s record-breaking reign but also as a salvation after two grim pandemic winters, three full national lockdowns and around 180,000 Covid deaths, many of whom are lonely.

Celebrating ‘Queen and Country’ is a way for buttoned-down Brits to celebrate themselves, draping themselves in the gentle patriotism of the Union Jack bunting as they leave behind the pain of the pandemic and the endless bickering over Brexit.

Platinum anniversary souvenirs, from mugs to barbies to corgi cakes

Of course, not everyone in Britain likes the idea of ​​the monarchy. Republicans with a lowercase “r” abound. But they really like their queen here.

Elizabeth’s poll is sky high. That’s more than can be said of others in the royal family cast (like disgraced Jeffrey Epstein pal Prince Andrew and controversial California runaways Harry and Meghan).

Also in the ratings dumpster: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, fresh from a police inquiry that found he and 82 others in his orbit at Downing Street broke pandemic lockdown rules, with gatherings vomiting in an official report , fist punches and lots of alcohol.

Now it’s the country’s turn.

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As images of the Queen are projected onto the plinths at Stonehenge and Marble Arch, her ‘pageant masters’ prepare to light bonfires across Britain.

Grandstands were erected around Buckingham Palace and Prince William practiced his horseback riding in preparation for the Trooping of the Color, Thursday morning’s military parade on The Mall, which will be attended by 1,400 officers and soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians.

The guest of honor is the only British monarch to have ever reached this milestone.

The Queen’s reign has spanned a century of almost incomprehensible changes. She gave some of her first public addresses on the radio; now her comments are posted on Twitter and Instagram.

Royal biographer Robert Hardman, author of a new book, Queen of Our Times, told the Washington Post that for many Britons, Elizabeth has the quality of being “ubiquitous,” an almost “subliminal” background.

“The fact that she’s just on the coins and stamps, the banknote pictures, government buildings, even the national anthem at sporting events, it’s about her. …. Whenever there’s a national gathering for a happy or sad reason, she’s usually the focus,” he said.

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Of the two dozen or so royal families left in the world, none are more well known than the stars of The Crown, the enduring, dysfunctional House of Windsor.

For her part, Elizabeth has signaled that she has no intention of retiring – her Uncle Edward has made “abdication” a dirty word.

But in interviews with The Post, people on the street are quite open – realistically – that while there may be birthdays for the Queen, the next mega-event for Her Majesty could be the one marking her death.

The Queen is 96 years old. Her mother made it to 101. Elizabeth’s 73-year-old husband, Prince Philip, died last year at the age of 99.

His funeral – the last great royal moment – was somber, naked, with just a few dozen family members present at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, all draped in black and wearing face masks, and the Queen all alone. hunched in a bench.

The Queen’s own health scares in recent months have had the country on edge. After a brief hospital stay, a sprained back, a bout of Covid and what palace spokesmen have described as “episodic mobility issues,” many people feared she might not make it to her anniversary.

But now that the week is here, it’s an opportunity to look back and take stock and celebrate – without mourning.

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“I think there’s a realization that this is the last big event and it’s a way to say thank you,” said Ian Middleton, 58, an airline pilot whose anniversary celebrations included a visit with his dog to a pop belonged to “Corgi Cafe”. in London.

“I think continuity is the most important thing [of the queen’s reign] and Britain will be a different place if it can,” Middleton said. “I think it will be a bigger shock to the system than Brexit.”

The four days of official anniversary celebrations stand in the tradition.

On Thursday, the main event begins with the Trooping the Color parade, which has marked the British monarch’s official birthday for over 260 years. This is British pomp at its finest, ending with a Royal Air Force flyover watched by the Royal Family from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

There has been a lot of talk about who will and will not be on the balcony this year. The palace said only “working royals” will be admitted – meaning no Prince Andrew or Prince Harry or his wife Meghan.

In the evening, more than 3,200 bonfires will be lit across the kingdom, including one dubbed ‘The Tree of Trees’, a six-story display of 350 saplings that will be lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace (and later around the). planted in the British Isles).

On Friday, the royals will attend a service at St Paul’s Cathedral, home of the country’s largest church bell, which will ring nationwide.

On Saturday, the royals will take part in the Epsom Derby, a prestigious horse race that will see some of the Queen’s own horses compete. It would cost quite a bit to dissuade the Queen from her beloved horses, but if reports in the Sun tabloid are true, she could miss the event to celebrate the first birthday of her great-granddaughter Lilibet, Prince Harry and Meghan’s daughter.

Later that evening, thousands gather outside Buckingham Palace for a live concert featuring the likes of Duran Duran, Rod Stewart and Queen, whose guitarist Brian May famously played ‘God Save the Queen’ from the roof of the palace during the Queen’s Golden Jubilee .

A festive parade winds through central London on Sunday, with acts including Ed Sheeran performing his ballad ‘Perfect’ in tribute to Prince Philip and the Queen. More than 85,000 people have signed up to host “Big Jubilee Lunches” on the same day, although far more will take place. The royal family will make an appearance at some.

Common to all these events is that most Britons will be toasting to the only monarch they have ever known.

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