Britain will mark Queen Elizabeth’s record-breaking 70 years on the throne this week with four days of celebrations, ranging from military parades and church service to street parties and a pop concert outside Buckingham Palace.
Elizabeth, 96, marked seven decades on the throne in February, and two public holidays have been set aside to create a four-day weekend for nationwide events commemorating her reign from June 2-5.
It is not clear how many of these the monarch herself will attend, having been forced to miss several official engagements in recent months because of what Buckingham Palace calls “episodic mobility issues”. Royal officials say her attendance will be decided on the day.
Paying tribute to “Elizabeth the Great” in parliament last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said her service and dedication to duty were without parallel.
“I hope that in the coming days we can … show with every bonfire, with every concert and street party and aerobatic display, a love and a devotion to reciprocate the love and devotion and leadership she has shown to the whole country over seven decades,” he said.
The four days of events begin on Thursday with the traditional “Trooping the Colour” military parade in central London, which will be followed by a flypast of modern and historic aircraft.
The queen is also due to make an appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet the crowds, although the two most controversial members of the royal family – her son Prince Andrew and grandson Prince Harry – will be absent.
Friday will see a thanksgiving service at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral, while on Saturday the queen is due to attend the Derby horse race with other family members. Later there will be a concert outside Buckingham Palace, featuring the likes of the rock group Queen, pop band Duran Duran and U.S. singer Diana Ross.
Celebrations will conclude on Sunday, with street parties and a pageant through the British capital.
Elizabeth became the queen of Britain and more than a dozen other realms including Canada, Australia, and New Zealand on the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, while she was in Kenya on an international tour.