The Platinum Jubilee 2022
The Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II was a truly historic event as it was the first time a reigning British monarch had ever achieved 70 years on the throne. The central part of the annual event was marked with a four day bank holiday in the United Kingdom from 2 to 5 June which began with the Trooping of the Colour and ended with a grand pageant along the Mall before the royal family appeared on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. The jubilee was also marked with a series of events around the Commonwealth.
Due to the decline in the Queen’s health, Buckingham Palace made it clear she would be unable to attend all the events and announcements would be made on any given day as to whether the Queen would be able to make a personal appearance or not and she would be represented throughout the four nations by other members of the royal family. The Platinum Jubilee would prove to be a particularly poignant one as joy would turn to sorrow just three months later when Queen Elizabeth passed away on 8 September.
While there were numerous commemorative events around the world, we’ll be focusing on the events at the heart of the four day bank holiday weekend.
The winner of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Emblem Competition, held in conjunction with the V&A Museum, was announced in August 2021. The winning entry was created by Edward Roberts, a graphic design student from Nottinghamshire, and was a circular emblem reminiscent of the shape of a royal seal. The purple colour was chosen to symbolise royalty and it was closely matched to the purple in the Queen’s Robe of Estate worn at the Coronation in 1953.
A continuous platinum line in the shape of St Edward’s Crown features the number 70 at the top of the Crown, signifying the Queen’s 70-year reign and her platinum jubilee. The emblem’s Perpetua typeface is similar to the font style on the Queen’s Coronation Order of Service in 1953.
Trooping of the Colour
The four-day weekend celebrations began with the Trooping of the Colour which took place on Thursday, 2 June instead of its usual second Saturday in June slot. Traditionally, the Queen would be driven to Horse Guards in a carriage as part of the parade, however her health issues made this impossible and it was announced the Queen would only appear on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex attended on horseback in their roles as the Royal Colonels, however the Prince of Wales also represented the Queen by inspecting the troops and taking the salute. The colour was trooped by the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, and more than 1,200 officers and soldiers from the Household Division put on a display of military pageantry with Army musicians and around 240 horses.
The Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex travelled to Horse Guards in carriages prior to the start of the parade and joined the rest of the Royal Family to watch the proceedings from a central first floor window in the Duke of Wellington’s former office. The Duchess of Cambridge’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, also joined their mother in the carriage for the first time.
Afterwards, members of the Royal Family gathered on the balcony with the Queen to watch a flypast consisting of more than 70 aircraft of the Royal Air Force, Fleet Air Arm and Army Air Corps, including the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Red Arrows and fifteen Typhoon fighters forming the number 70. In previous years, the extended royal family have all appeared on the balcony but this year it was announced the appearance would be limited to working royals only. The Queen was joined by The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall; The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and their children; The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence; The Earl and Countess of Wessex, and their children; The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester; The Duke of Kent; and Princess Alexandra, The Hon. Lady Ogilvy.
The Queen was wearing a soft blue coat with pearl and diamante trim designed by her personal dressmaker Angela Kelly. She is also wearing her Brigade of Guards Brooch that combines the badges of the five Household Regiments: the Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish, and Welsh Guards.
Jubilee Beacons & the Tree of Trees
Later in the evening of 2 June, the Queen lit the principal beacon by touching a glittering globe at Windsor Castle. A beacon chain, once used for communication, has become a traditional feature at jubilees since the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 and has been repeated at the various jubilees of Queen Elizabeth II.
After the principal beacon was lit, more than 3,500 beacons across the United Kingdom, the Channel Island, UK Overseas Territories and the Commonwealth, were also lit. The lighting of the beacons was also accompanied by choirs from all over the Commonwealth singing A Life Lived With Grace, a song specially commissioned for the Jubilee, and the winner of the A Song for the Commonwealth completion launched in 2021. The winning song was composed by Atueyi Vincent Chinemelu (composer) from Nigeria and Lucy Kiely (lyricist) from Australia. Pipers and pipe bands were also invited to play Diu Regnare, a tune especially written by Piper Stuart Liddell for the Jubilee. Choirs.
Meanwhile, at Buckingham Palace, the Duke of Cambridge was taking part in the ceremony to light the Tree of Trees which was placed outside the palace main gates. The tree was designed by Heatherwick Studio and is a structure made from reclaimed steel with a series of branches holding 50 British grown saplings in spun aluminium pots. After the Jubilee, the saplings will be nurtured until they are ready to plant, and then they will be gifted to charities and foundations nationwide.
Platinum Party at the Palace
The days after the Trooping of the Colour were full of low key events such as the Thanksgiving service for the Queen at Westminster Abbey and various visits by the royal family throughout the four nations. The next big event was the Platinum Party at the Palace which had more than a surprise or two up its sleeve. The Party was held outside Buckingham Palace on The Mall where more than 20,000 spectators gathered. The majority of the free tickets were reserved for key workers, volunteers, charities and members of the Armed Forces. The three stages circling the Queen Victoria Memorial were linked by a series of bridges while stands were erected on the north and south to hold 7,000 spectators, while the rest were standing in front of the stage. While the Queen was not in attendance, the majority of the Royal Family were there and speeches were given by the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge.
The concert lasted for about 2 hours 30 mins and featured performances from Queen, Duran Duran, Elton John, Diana Ross, Andrea Bocelli, Alicia Keys and rod Stewart. The concert also featured images of the Queen at various times of her reign which were beamed across the front of the palace. The concert also ended with a spectacular drone show above the palace which showed a series of royal motifs including a Union flag, a corgi, a stamp, a cup of tea, the Queen’s handbag, and the number “70” with a crown in the centre of the “0”. The show was organised by the company Sky Magic and was considered one of the highlights of the event.
However, the real highlight was the surprise sketch featuring the Queen having tea with Paddington Bear which had been filmed in secret at Windsor Castle. The charming sketch shows Paddington get into a few scrapes before offering the Queen a marmalade sandwich he keeps in his hat for emergencies, to which she reveals she keeps her marmalade sandwich in her handbag. The sketch has become iconic and inextricably linked the Queen with Paddington Bear in the hearts and minds of many.
The Big Jubilee Lunch
On the last day of the extended bank holiday weekend, communities were encouraged to participate in The Big Jubilee Lunch. More than 85,000 people signed up to host Big Lunches and 16,000 street parties were held across the United Kingdom, including Windsor which was aiming for a record breaking longest table at 500 metres. the senior royals attended separate lunches with the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall attending one at The Oval cricket ground, while the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended one in Ladbroke Grove. The Earl and Countess of Wessex attended an event near Windsor Castle, while Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie attended a lunch organised by Westminster City Council for local volunteer and community groups who responded to the crisis caused by the pandemic.
The Platinum Pudding competition was launched by Buckingham Palace, Fortnum & Mason and The Big Jubilee Lunch on 10 January 2022 to find a new pudding to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee. The entries were narrowed down to five finalists who presented their creations to a judging panel at Fortnum & Mason’s main store on Piccadilly. The judging panel, chaired by Dame Mary Berry, included professional chefs, bakers, authors and historians.
The winning recipe was a lemon Swiss roll and amaretti trifle created by Jemma Melvin which was announced by the BBC documentary The Jubilee Pudding: 70 Years in the Baking. The recipe was then made available online with the intention for it to be featured at the various lunches being organised as part of The Big Jubilee Lunch weekend.
Platinum Jubilee Pageant
The jubilee pageant held on Sunday afternoon was the last event of the four-day weekend and involved more than 10,000 people along the length of the path taken by the Queen during her coronation. The pageant was divided into four acts featuring different aspects of the Queen’s reign and was kicked off by the bells of Westminster Abbey pealing as they did for the coronation. Members of the royal family watched from the stands on the Mall as the pageant circled past the Queen Victoria Memorial.
Act 1: For Queen & Country featured a military parade with 1,750 people and 200 horses. The Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry led the Gold State Coach which featured original footage of the Queen waving to the crowds on Coronation Day. The idea to project an image of the young Queen in the window was conceived after it became apparent the Queen would be unable to take part in the pageant as the coach would cause her discomfort. Many units of the British Armed Forces and representatives of the armed services in the Commonwealth took part and it was considered one of the best parts of the day.
Act 2: The Time of Our Lives showcased changes in culture, technology, music and fashion throughout the seven decades of the Queen’s reign. Open top double deckers represented each decade and were packed with celebrities from the arts, television, music, and the fields of sport. Alongside the buses, people wearing outfits from each decade interacted with the crowds while cyclists and vintage cars also featured.
Act 3: Let’s Celebrate featured carnival floats and street theatre acts, including a 21 foot dragon puppet and a fabulous Bollywood wedding dance. Past jubilees and the Queen’s wedding were also depicted via dance, while butterflies represented different faiths. The River of Hope flags featured artwork by children.
Act 4: Happy & Glorious featured a performance at the Queen Victoria Memorial by Ed Sheeran which gave the crowds time to move up the Mall in anticipation for the Royal Family appearing on the balcony. As the Queen was not anticipated to appear, it was a delightful surprise when she stepped out with the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. The Queen looked visibly moved when the crowd cheered and sang the national anthem. As it turned out, it was the last time she would ever appear on the balcony.
Thank you, Ma’am, for everything.