The Platinum Weekend

In my previous post I declared that “Nobody does pomp like the British!”
And the Platinum Jubilee weekend was certainly no exception. Even a non-royalist would have to be impressed with the splendour and magic.

On 6th February 2022 Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth became the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years of service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth. I think she won many hearts in Ireland during her visit in 2011, with her words (a few as Gaeilge), her interactions (remember the English Market in Cork) and her respectful silences (the Garden of Remembrance).

Now she has reached her platinum jubilee. A range of events and initiatives were planned with the culmination being this four day UK June bank holiday.

The four days of celebrations included public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen’s 70 years of service.

Thursday 2nd June

Trooping the Colour is an annual event that marks the official birthday of the British Sovereign. It has been happening for over 260 years but this year will be spectacular. The Queen’s Birthday Parade this year saw the colour trooped by the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards, and more than 1200 officers and soldiers from the Household Division putting on a display of military pageantry on Horse Guards Parade, together with hundreds of Army musicians and around 240 horses. During the birthday parade a Royal gun salute was fired.

Once the parade ended and the Royal Procession returned to Buckingham Palace for the Royal Family’s balcony appearance.
There was an impressive Flypast to coincide with the Royal Family’s balcony appearance and the younger royals stole the show with their excited reactions.

Platinum Jubilee Beacons: The United Kingdom’s long tradition of celebrating Royal Jubilees, Weddings and Coronations with the lighting of beacons was of course bigger and bolder for this Platinum Jubilee.
A beacon chain, once used as a tool for communication, has now become a symbol of unity across towns, borders, countries and continents and is often the central point of focus for any outdoor gathering or celebration. In 1897, beacons were lit to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1977, 2002 and 2012, beacons commemorated the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees of The Queen, and in 2016 Her Majesty’s 90th birthday. Over 1,500 beacons were lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories.

The Principal beacon, involving The Tree of Trees (a 21m high ‘tree’ constructed of 350 smaller trees), was lit by the Queen in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Friday 3rd June

The entire royal family attended a Service of Thanksgiving for The Queen’s reign in St Paul’s Cathedral. Unfortunately, the Queen herself was unable to attend. Harry and Meghan made their first public appearance since they absconded to USA, to quite a varied response. Great Paul, the largest church bell in the country, was rung for the Service. It was made in 1882, but fell silent in the 1970s due to a broken mechanism. It was restored in 2021 and has been rung on 8 occasions since.

Saturday 4th June

The Derby at Epsom Downs: This was probably one of her Her Majesty’s favourite events and usually she would have a horse running. Not this year. Again this was another event she could not attend.

The Platinum Party at the Palace in the evening saw famous faces from the world of entertainment brought together to perform for a night of musical tributes to celebrate the Jubilee. An array of Royals, young and old attended.

A special video tribute of the Queen and Paddington Bear thrilled the nation, even the world.

Sunday 5th June

The Big Jubilee Lunch: Over 60k people registered to host lunches, with events ranging from world record attempts for the longest street party to back garden BBQ’s and everything in between. Over ten million people across the UK joined the celebrations.

The Platinum Jubilee Pageant: The Gold State Carriage, guided by The Sovereign’s Escort, led the Platinum Jubilee Pageant. The pageant embraced the latest in digital technology to evoke the excitement and majesty of her journey to be crowned 70 years ago.
The Pageant brought to life iconic moments from The Queen’s reign as well as showcasing the changing society over the past 70 years.
National treasures and iconic figures from music, film, sport and the arts sent their good wishes to the Queen.

No I’m not a royalist, but I love the pageantry and grandeur and drama attached to royalty!!!!


Poet Laureate celebrates the occasion in poetry

Nobody does pomp like the British! Be it a royal wedding, a state funeral or an anniversary they know just how to roll out the celebrations.
They even have a Poet Laureate who may or may not commemorate the occasion poetically!

William Wordsworth became Laureate in later life and exercised the poet laureate’s prerogative and wrote not a single line of official verse.

Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion’s poems, one a rap and the other a sonnet to celebrate Prince William’s 21st birthday was called On The Record. The rap was the A side, the sonnet the B side reflecting vinyl LP and 45s records.
From the A side:
Better stand back
Here’s an age attack,
But the second in line
Is dealing with it fine.
From the B side:
That’s what our ‘happy birthday’ means today:
A wish that you’ll be free to claim your life
While destiny connects with who you are –
A Prince and yet familiar common clay;
Your father’s heir but true to your own faith;
A mother’s son and silvered by her star.
John Betjeman was Laureate when Princess Anne got married and his poem was like a hymn of praise:

“Hundreds of birds in the air/ and millions of leaves on the pavement”.
It was always thought to be a good idea to have the poet Laureate on your side or quite uncomplimentary or nondescript verse could be written. In 1901 Alfred Austin reported
“Across the wires the electric message came:
He is no better, he is much the same”
when the Prince of Wales, future Edward VII fell ill in 1901.
Simon Armitage, the current Poet Laureate, claims to address current affairs in his role. His tribute to the Queen on her platinum jubilee is called Queenhood.