The Queen’s birthday celebrations: what to expect
The monarch’s traditional birthday celebrations occur not on her (or his) actual date of birth, but rather on a Saturday in May or June, when there is a greater likelihood of good weather for the Birthday Parade, also known as Trooping the Colour.
Her Majesty will be at Windsor Castle when her birthday comes around, and Buckingham Palace is expected to announce public engagements in the Windsor area on the 21st and possibly the 20th. With royal walkabouts and TV documentaries on the Queen’s life, April will act as the beginning of the next few months’ celebrations. The Queen’s 90th birthday celebration will be a 90-minute long extravaganza with 900 horses and more than 1,500 riders and performers. It will be along similar lines to the Diamond Jubilee horse pageant at Windsor in 2012, though this time video projection and theatrical lighting will play a big part. The event will be held every evening from 12th-15th May, with the Queen attending on the final evening and a two-hour live broadcast shown on TV.
June hosts a weekend of events to celebrate the Queen’s birthday and, unofficially, the Duke of Edinburgh’s 95th birthday beginning on 10th June, with a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. Saturday 11th June is the date of this year’s Trooping the Colour, the official annual celebration of the Queen’s birthday. Otherwise known as The Queen’s Birthday Parade, it is a chance for the Queen to inspect soldiers from the Household Division. It takes place on Horse Guards Parade behind Whitehall, and is televised live by the BBC from 10am.
On Sunday 12th June, the climax of the Queen’s birthday celebrations, The Mall in London will be transformed into a giant street party for The Patron’s Lunch, with 10,000 guests eating a picnic lunch and being entertained by street performers and circus acts. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will take part in the event from a specially-built platform on the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace. The event’s organiser Peter Phillips, the Queen’s grandson, is keen for the event to be replicated with street parties up and down the country and across the Commonwealth.
A salute to the Queen
For most people in Britain, and indeed the world, it is surely almost impossible to remember a time when our Queen wasn’t... well...the Queen. For more than 64 years, she has reigned supreme and last year surpassed Queen Victoria as this country’s longest reigning monarch.
But these, together with myriad others, are just the facts and figures. What really stands unattested and triumphant is the astonishing warmth and respect she is held in by millions in this country, and by almost every nation abroad.
Her extraordinary commitment to public service is a matter of record, and together with her much loved husband Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh, she has as Prime Minister David Cameron recently noted, been “a rock of stability in a world of constant change”.
Likewise, someone much younger but just as keenly aware of her continuing legacy is Mary McCartney, daughter of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney who, commissioned last year to photograph the Queen on occasion of becoming Britain’s longest reigning monarch, said: “She is a truly inspirational person, a trailblazer and a beacon for womankind”. Yet none of these plaudits, along with millions of others, should really come as any surprise. After all, on her 21st birthday in a broadcast to the Commonwealth, Princess Elizabeth memorably promised that her “whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service”.
And never, in this instance, were truer words spoken.
A timeless role model who has never followed fashion but rather set it, she is arguably the most famous woman in the world. And her value to this country, in hard currency as purely a draw for British tourism, is estimated at £550 million (while a recent calculation concluded that her cost to taxpayers is just 66 pence per person).
But for most people the Queen simply represents all that is good about this island of ours. And for that we salute her!
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