By Yolande Brener
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee: Celebrating Seventy Years of Change and Progress by Harlem’s Yolande Brener, June 2nd, 2022.
When Harlem World Magazine’s Founder Danny Tisdale, asked if I would be writing about the once-in-a-lifetime Queen’s Platinum Jubilee this weekend, I said I’d love to but I wasn’t in England. Danny reminded me of Harlem’s love for Princess Diana visiting AIDS patiences in Harlem Hospital in 1989 and that I could observe the celebrations on streaming services online. So I set out to gather what information I could and asked some of my friends in Great Britain to share their experiences.
Great Britain and all 54 commonwealth countries will participate in the celebration of seventy years on the throne for 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II. She is the longest-reigning British monarch and the third longest-reigning monarch in history.
With festivities spanning from Thursday, June 2nd to Sunday, June 5th, 2022, the official events started on the morning of June 2nd with the Trooping the Colour at Buckingham Palace. The Queen watched from the balcony accompanied by the Duke of Kent. For the second balcony appearance, she was joined by Prince Charles, Prince William, and the Duchess of Cambridge with their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis. The Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge arrived together in a carriage. Prince Andrew will not be in attendance since he has tested positive for Covid.
Later in the morning, seventy planes performed a fly-past over Buckingham Palace. The planes, including a Hurricane, Lancaster Bombers, and Spitfires formed the number seventy in the sky.
Among the many world leaders congratulating the Queen were President Biden and Jill Biden who recorded a congratulatory video message. President Biden said, “Throughout your reign, the relationship between the United Kingdom and the United States has grown stronger and closer than ever.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted his congratulations, saying, “The whole country, Commonwealth and world thank you for your unwavering duty and service.” The Pope wrote in a telegram released by the Vatican, “On the joyful occasion of Your Majesty’s birthday, and as you celebrate this Platinum Jubilee Year, I send cordial greetings and good wishes.”
Queen Elizabeth was born April 21, 1926, and adopted the second Saturday of June as her official birthday. This year, the public celebration of her birthday was tied to her Platinum Jubilee celebration marking her seventy years of service.
The first day’s festivities ended with the 3,500 beacons being lit across Great Britain and all 54 Commonwealth nations. The Queen symbolically lit the first beacon at 9:30 p.m. on June 2nd. She pressed a button at Windsor Castle that ignited the lights on Thomas Heatherwood’s “Tree of Trees” sculpture outside Buckingham Palace. This living sculpture made of 350 smaller British-grown trees, is said by the sculptor to “put the importance of trees and nature at the heart of this historic milestone.” Strategically placed beacons joined to form a chain that included lights at the Tower of London, Balmoral, Sandringham, and forty lights along Hadrian’s Wall.
On the second day of celebration, Friday June 3rd, the Queen was praised for “staying the course” at a thanksgiving service for the Platinum Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were in attendance. This visit will be the first time the Queen has met her great great granddaughter, Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, who will be one year old on Saturday June 4th.
On the evening of Saturday June 4, the Platinum Party at the Palace is due to showcase artists including Queen, Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Duran Duran, Andrea Bocelli, Sam Ryder, and Diversity. Other celebrities scheduled to appear at the concert are Sir David Attenborough, David Beckham, Stephen Fry, Dame Julie Andrews, The Royal Ballet, Ellie Simmonds, and Sir Elton John. The concert will be broadcast live. Earlier on Saturday, the Queen will attend the Derby at Epsom Downs, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family.
On the final day of festivities, Sunday June 5th, the Big Jubilee Lunch offers an opportunity for people to either arrange their own street party, or join one of the organized lunches. One of the largest street parties will be the Windsor Big Lunch, which will happen on The Long Walk in Windsor. People are invited to bring their own lunches or take advantage of food carts, and enjoy the provided entertainment. The Big Lunch is scheduled to finish at 10:45 p.m.. Other Jubilee events continue throughout the month of June.
Read more Yolands Yard by Yolande Brener here.
Yolande Brener is an English writer living in Harlem, NY. She is the author of Holy Candy, a book about faith, love, and change. She is a seeker and lover of the arts as she talks about on her Yolande Brener blog. She’s published work in New York Press, Fiction Magazine, The Promethean, and Harlem World Magazine. She has received awards from The British Film Institute, the Arts Council of Great Britain, the NYC Parks Department Poems in the Park, and Writer’s Digest e-Book Awards in Life Stories. www.yolandebrener.com.
Photo credit: 1-2) Elizabeth Fisher (bunting on houses). 3) Jan Woodhouse Pickton (Queen cutouts). 4-9 by Paul Hunt (street views in Windsor and Windsor Castle). 10) Elizabeth Fisher (bunting on the shop). 11-12) Scotland photos, from Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire, just before lighting the beacon. by Danièle Minns.