UK to hold multi-day party to celebrate 70 years of Queen’s reign

UK to hold multi-day party to celebrate 70 years of Queen’s reign

LONDON (AP) — Britain is gearing up for a feast with mounted troops, solemn prayers — and a pack of dancing mechanical corgis.

The nation will celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne this week with four days of pomp and pageantry in central London. But behind the marching bands, the street parties and a planned appearance by the aging Queen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace It is a desire to show that the royal family remains relevant after seven decades of change.

“The monarchy is not elected, so the only way for a monarch to show their consent is not through the ballot box, but through the people who come out into the streets,” said Robert Lacey, the series’ historical adviser. “The Crown”. “And if the monarch shows up on the balcony and waves and there’s no one there, that’s a pretty definitive judgment on the monarchy.

“Well, when it comes to Elizabeth, the opposite has been the case. People can’t wait to come together and rejoice,” he added.

And the royal family, sometimes criticized as out of touch with modern Britain, wants to show that its support comes from all parts of a society that has become more multicultural amid immigration from the Caribbean, South Asia and Europe. Eastern Europe.

As part of the jubilee, dancers from London’s Afro-Caribbean community will don costumes of giant flamingos, zebras and giraffes to reimagine the 1952 moment Princess Elizabeth learned she had become queen during a visit to a park animal in Kenya. Another group will remember the Queen’s 1947 wedding to Prince Philip and celebrate weddings across the Commonwealth with Bollywood-style dancing.

The Jubilee is an opportunity for the Royal Family to demonstrate their commitment to change and diversity, which the Queen has embodied as she travels the world for the past 70 years, said Emily Nash, Royal Editor of HELLO! magazine.

“She’s been everywhere and she’s engaged with people of all backgrounds, creeds, colors and religions,” Nash said. “I think it’s easy to see, in the glitz and pageantry genre, maybe more of a lack of diversity. But if you look at what the royal family actually does, who they engage with, where they go, I think it’s maybe a bit unfair to say it’s not as diverse as he could be.

If Cool Britannia gift shop’s sold out stock is any indication, the jubilee has caught the public’s eye. The shop around the corner from Buckingham Palace has run out of Platinum Jubilee tea towels. Spoons are rare. Mugs are rare.

And it’s not just foreign tourists who buy all things Elizabeth. Visitors from the UK are also on the lookout for jubilee souvenirs, said Ismayil Ibrahim, the man behind the counter.

“It’s a very special year,” he said. “They celebrate it as a big event.”

The question for the House of Windsor is whether the public will transfer their love for the Queen to her son and heir, Prince Charles, when the time comes.

It’s a problem that stems, in part, from the Queen’s unprecedented reign, the longest in British history. The only monarch most people have ever known, she has become synonymous with the monarchy itself.

Since his accession to the throne after the death of his father on February 6, 1952Elizabeth was a symbol of stability as the country negotiated the end of Empire, the birth of the computer age and the mass migration that transformed Britain into a multicultural society.

The shy woman with a small handbaga dragging corgi and passion for horses presided over an era that spawned Monty Python, the Beatles and the Sex Pistols. People who thought they knew her thought wrong – as evidenced by her star turn as the Bond Girl at the 2012 London Olympics.

Yet through it all, the Queen built a bond with the nation through a seemingly endless series of public appearances as she opened libraries, dedicated hospitals and bestowed honors on deserving citizens.

Susan Duddridge feels that connection. The Somerset administrator will dance in the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, 69 years after his father marched in the Queen’s Coronation Parade.

“I think it’s amazing that the country always comes together when there’s a wedding, a royal jubilee, whatever the royal family is involved in,” she said. “We love the queen!”

The past two years have highlighted the strengths of the monarchy as the Queen alternately consoled a nation isolated by COVID-19 and thanked the doctors and nurses who are battling the disease.

But her frailties were also exposed when the 96-year-old monarch buried her husband and was slowed by health issues that forced her to hand over important public duties to Charles. It came amid all-too-public tensions with Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex, who have made allegations of racism and bullying in the royal household, and the sordid allegations about Prince Andrew’s ties to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

In this context, the jubilee is also part of the effort to prepare the public for the day when Charles will take the throne. Now 73, Charles has spent much of his life preparing to become king and battling a somewhat stifling image that hasn’t been helped by his horrific divorce from ever-adored Princess Diana. .

Charles could play a key role in the first event of the Jubilee weekend, saluting passing soldiers at the annual military parade known as Trooping the Colour. The Queen will attend the over 400-year-old ceremony which marks her official birthday if she feels well, but will decide the day.

Elizabeth, who only recently recovered from COVID-19 and started using a cane, has given Charles an increasingly prominent role as the public face of the monarchy. Earlier this month he replaced his mother when what the Palace describes as “episodic mobility problems” prevented her from presiding over the official opening of Parliament.

Yet in the days that followed, she went to a horse showopened a metro line and toured the Chelsea Flower Show in a chauffeur-driven royal buggy – a sort of luxurious golf cart.

“There is no plan for a reign of this length and thereafter I think the palace and the courtiers have to improvise all the time,” said Ed Owens, royal historian and author of “The Family Firm : Monarchy, Mass Media and the British Public 1932-1953.

“In the case of Elizabeth II, we haven’t had such an elderly monarch who has reigned for so long and who is so significant to so many people who essentially have to transfer her role to the next one.”

But don’t expect the queen to leave the stage anytime soon.

Robert Hardman, biographer and author of “Queen of Our Times: The Life of Elizabeth II,” said he expects to see an even bigger party in four years, when Elizabeth turns 100.

“A 100th birthday raises the intriguing prospect: will she send herself a card?” Hardman reflects, referring to the Queen’s tradition of sending a personal birthday card to anyone who reaches this milestone. “I look forward to this debate in 2026.”

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Follow all AP stories about the British Royal Family at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii.

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