As Queen Elizabeth II Marks 70 Years on The Throne, Britain Celebrates With Concerts, Pageants and Parades

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Platinum Jubilee from June 2 and the U.K. is awash in events celebrating the milestone. At press time, there were no fewer than 2,429 public events and 3,388 street parties or private events taking place across the country, with London leading the way with 1,000.

The U.K. has a special four-day bank holiday beginning Thursday to celebrate the 96-year-old monarch’s achievement. The Queen, who ascended the throne in February 1952, is the longest-serving monarch in British history — surpassing Queen Victoria’s 63-year reign by seven years.

Below is a taster of major events planned:

On June 2, the Queen’s birthday parade, known as Trooping the Color, will feature more than 1,400 soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians. Beginning at Buckingham Palace, the parade will move down The Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade, joined by members of the Royal Family on horseback and in carriages. The parade will close with the traditional RAF fly-past, watched by The Queen and members of the Royal Family from the Buckingham Palace balcony. The event will be broadcast live on BBC One.

On June 3, Rootz n Rockerz DAB Radio, Manchester’s African Caribbean DAB station for music, news and sport, will celebrate the Jubilee with multi-ethnic and intergenerational events, job fairs, health checks and family fun activities.

Also on June 3, a special service will be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral to commemorate 70 years of the Queen’s service.

On June 4, the Platinum Party At The Palace concert which takes place at Buckingham Palace — and live on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and BBC Radio 2 — will feature Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow and George Ezra. They will share the three-stage set up with Duran Duran, Andrea Bocelli, Mimi Webb, Sam Ryder, Jax Jones, Celeste, Nile Rodgers, Sigala and Diversity. Stars appearing at the event and on film will include David Attenborough, Emma Raducanu, David Beckham, Stephen Fry, Julie Andrews, The Royal Ballet, Ellie Simmonds, and a specially recorded performance from Elton John. Sam Ryder, the U.K.’s Eurovision hero, will also perform live.

A focus on musicals, curated by Andrew Lloyd Webber, will feature Lin-Manuel Miranda plus performances featuring casts and special guests from “The Phantom Of The Opera,” “Hamilton,” “Six,” “The Lion King” and “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.” Closing the two-and-a-half hour show will be Diana Ross with her first U.K. live performance in 15 years.

On June 4 and 5, Folkestone Festivals will hold an event on the Leas and Bandstand with songs and music from the 1940s to the present day to suit the occasion. Music will include bagpipes, an Elvis Presley impersonator, The Runaways (Shadows tribute band), The Dulcettes, a swing band, line dancing, Morris dancing and more.

On June 5, the Platinum Jubilee Pageant will combine street arts, theatre, music, circus, carnival and costume and a River of Hope procession on The Mall, being choreographed by Kinetika Bloco with music by 100 young players from London and Edinburgh, will feature a procession of 200 silk flags with artwork from schoolchildren, featuring their hopes and aspirations for the next 70 years, on them.

From a film industry point of view, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) — which moved into their global headquarters at 195 Piccadilly thanks to the Queen gifting them the royalties from the documentary “Royal Family” — is leading the celebrations.

From June 6-12, BAFTA is collaborating with the Crown Estate and its Platinum Jubilee celebrations and putting on screenings of pre-recorded lectures and Q&As in the public piazza of St James’s Market. Luminaries discussing their work as part of the celebrations include Nicole Kidman, Bong Joon-ho, Noah Baumbach, Alfonso Cuarón, Taika Waititi Nadine Labaki, Chris Packham, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Abubakar Salim and Martin Freeman.

In addition, the British Film Institute has released Jubilee on Film, a collection of Royal Jubilees past, from 1897 to 1977, on the BFI Player.

Over at the British Museum, from June 2-July 31, an exhibition presents the life and work of the sculptor Mary Gillick (1881-1965), who enjoyed a burst of fame when, in her seventies, she was invited to model the Queen’s head for the 1953 U.K. coinage.

On June 5, Horniman Museum and Gardens will host the royal Drag Queen Bingo, where Timberlina and Auntie Maureen will present a special Platinum Jubilee edition of cabaret act “Big Bingo Show.”

Inspired by the Queen’s 70 years of service and leadership, the British Council is building a network of 100 young women leaders in five countries of South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and the U.K. Young women leaders from across the arts and education will benefit from training, mentorship and the chance to connect and collaborate. Public virtual events will be hosted in the region and the U.K. culminating in a closing ceremony in June, during the festivities.

On June 5, the Big Jubilee Lunch will see street parties across the country.

And, on the BBC, there are Jubilee special editions of “EastEnders,” “Bargain Hunt,” “The Repair Shop” and the documentary “The Crown Jewels,” where presenter Clive Myrie has been given access to the Queen’s crown jewels, which consist of 13 crowns and 24,000 precious gems.

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