This June it will be time to get the bunting out again. No, Kate and Wills aren’t renewing their vows, Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II will be celebrating a mammoth 60 years on the throne. She is the oldest reigning British monarch and the second longest reigning monarch in British history so a celebration is certainly warranted, which is great news for Brits and visitors alike. Over four days, including two public holidays, Buckingham Palace are planning a host of events, many of which the public will be able to get involved in. With the Olympics a mere 8 weeks away, it’ll be a great time to be in the UK so if you’re travelling from abroad book your tickets and your international travel insurance now. In the meantime, here’s our guide to a right royal knees-up:
Saturday 2nd June – Epsom Derby
The Queen, a keen horse racer and breeder, will kick off her long weekend of celebrations by attending Epsom Derby, a national institution and one of the greatest horse racing events in the world. This year the multi-platinum selling opera singer Katherine Jenkins will perform the national anthem in honour of the Queen. Booking tickets well in advance will be essential.
Sunday 3rd June – Thames River Pagaent
In a grand royal tradition dating back to King Henry VIII, the Queen will head a flotilla of 1,000 boats down the River Thames from Putney to Tower Bridge, herself seated in a barge renovated to resemble an 18th century royal gallery. Timed to coincide with the afternoon’s high tide, the pageant will be a spectacular sight as both working and pleasure boats of all shapes and sizes take to the river, decorated with streamers and Union Jacks. There will be boats blasting out music, boats setting off fireworks and boats piping out geysers, as well as a sailing belfry whose bells will chime in conjunction with nearby churches.
Monday 4th June – Concert and Beacons
Beacons have been lit to commemorate a number of monumental occasions in British history and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee is no different. A network of 2,012 beacons will be lit across Great Britain and around the world to celebrate Her Majesty’s reign of 60 years as queen of the UK and head of the Commonwealth. In addition, popular musicians from across Britain and the Commonwealth will play at a concert in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, for which tickets will be available by public ballot for UK citizens. Those not lucky enough to get their hands on tickets can watch a live broadcast on the TV or on big screens in public parks.
Tuesday 5th June – Carriage Procession
The formal commemoration of a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral will be preceeded and proceeded by a carriage procession to and from Buckingham Palace. For a chance to see the Queen in the flesh, bag a spot on the route early on.