A year-long Platinum Jubilee celebration of the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II got under in the UK this past weekend with two significant developments.
Queen Elizabeth II is the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.
On Saturday 5th February, one day before the 70th-anniversary date of her accession to the throne, she gave her approval for Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, the wife of her son Prince Charles, to be named as Queen Consort when he becomes king. She said in a statement that it was her "sincere wish" that Camilla would have that title. There is no indication of a date or time frame for when Prince Charles will succeed his mother on the throne.
The Queen spent the actual 70th anniversary day - Sunday 6th February - privately and quietly at the royal family’s Sandringham estate. That contrasts with the massive national celebrations planned throughout the UK and the Commonwealth to mark her 70th year on the throne. She has been inundated with greetings and well-wishes from around the world and those expected to continue well throughout the calendar of celebrations drawn up to mark the occasion.
Queen Elizabeth II who is 95 years old, began her reign aged 25 upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6 February 1952. She has said that the day is one she remembers "as much for the death of my father, King George VI, as for the start of my reign". Another sombre note to the anniversary observation is that The Queen is marking what is the most historic milestone of her reign without her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh who died last year.
According to the official British Royal Family website, “To celebrate this unprecedented anniversary, events and initiatives will take place throughout the year, culminating in a four day UK bank holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd to Sunday 5th June." It said the extended bank holiday will provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone.
“There will be year-long Platinum Jubilee celebrations throughout the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world as communities come together to celebrate The Queen’s historic reign,” echoed a banner statement on the website.
The four days of celebrations in the UK will include public events and community activities, as well as national moments of reflection on The Queen’s 70 years of service. In addition, uniquely British cultural themes such as The Queen’s Green Canopy and the Platinum Pudding competition "will create a lasting reminder of The Queen’s Jubilee," the official website said. The Queen’s private estates will also join in with special Jubilee themed events offering more opportunities for members of the public to celebrate the historic milestone.
Elaborate Platinum Jubilee celebrations are also planned (and some are already taking place) throughout the Overseas Territories, Crown Dependencies and the wider Commonwealth of independent former British colonies.