Celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

queen platinum jubilee celebrations street party

Ever since Saxon times, around 1200 years ago, we have had a monarch in Britain and England. Within such a huge timespan there have been significant changes including wars, conflicts and social shifts, and their role has altered over time with it. Queen Elizabeth II has been on the throne since 1952, becoming the UK’s current head of state at the age of 25 after her father, King George VI, died.

This year marks the 70th year of her reign and, as she is the only British monarch to have been on the throne for that long, she’s the first ever to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. To mark the occasion, we’re looking at some of the activities that will be taking place and sharing some royalty-related vocabulary.

It’s not the first jubilee Queen Elizabeth II celebrated; there have been gold and silver jubilees previously – can you guess how many years on the throne were marked with each one? (Hint – click the jubilee link). Throughout the year, numerous celebrations will take place to mark the Platinum Jubilee, culminating in a special Bank Holiday weekend from 2nd June – 5th June, giving people across the country time off work, and this is when most events will happen. The four days of celebrations will include public events and community activities, where people can gather and reflect on the Queen’s reign and service.

Trooping the Colour

This is an annual parade to mark the official birthday of the monarch, held every year since 1760, and involves more than 1200 soldiers in a display of military pageantry together with hundreds of horses and musicians. It also features a Royal Gun Salute where large guns are wheeled in by horses across one of the Royal parks, detached and then fire blank shells. The sound booms across the surrounding area and covers it in smoke.

After the parade has ended, the Royal Family usually appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet the crowds below and be treated to an impressive fly-past by a group of aircraft, usually the Red Arrows display team.

Jubilee Beacons

The United Kingdom has a historical tradition of lighting beacons for Jubilees and some other royal events. Once used as a tool for communication for warning messages and passing on good news across the land, a special beacon chain consisting of over 2,000 jubilee beacons will be lit on the evening of 2nd June across the UK to celebrate this historic occasion.

Platinum Party at Buckingham Palace

This is a special event to be held outside the grounds of Buckingham Palace, featuring famous people from the world of music, dance, stage and screen set to perform for a night of tributes. The event includes headline performances by the likes of Diana Ross, Sir Elton John and Sir Rod Stewart. The party stage design consists of three stages, linked by walkways, which will create a 360-degree experience in front of Buckingham Palace and The Queen Victoria Memorial.

Jubilee Lunch

This year communities across the country are invited to host their own Big Jubilee Lunches involving street parties and garden barbeques. Street parties have traditionally drawn people out of their homes to come together in their streets, parks and gardens, to mark these special days. With streets and houses decorated with flags and bunting, people gather around tables laden with food and drink to chat, share stories and have fun, with activities often including games, music and entertainment. For a few hours, neighbours and friends get to spend time together united in celebration and hopefully reviving a stronger sense of community through it.

Author: Oxford University Press ELT

Every year we help millions of people around the world to learn English. As a department of the University of Oxford, we further the University’s objective of excellence in education by publishing proven and tested language learning books, eBooks, learning materials, and educational technologies.

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