Queen's Platinum Jubilee Weekend To Feature Ed Sheeran, Palace Parties

The U.K is pulling out all the stops to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II as she becomes the first monarch in British history to mark a Platinum Jubilee—reigning for over 70 years.

Though the queen's accession day—the date she officially became queen when her father, King George VI died—was in February, the main Jubilee celebrations have been planned to take place around the time of the monarch's official birthday in June.

The central weekend of celebrations begins with two days of bank holidays (national holidays) on Thursday, June 2, and continues until Sunday, June 5.

Here Newsweek rounds up the key events in the jubilee weekend from a special display by the British armed forces to a star-studded pop concert spectacular being staged outside Buckingham Palace.

Queen Elizabeth II Ed Sheeran
Queen Elizabeth (L) marks 70 years on the throne this year. The Platinum Jubilee weekend June 2-5 will feature a wide variety of celebrations, including a performance by Ed Sheeran (R). Getty

Thursday, June 2

Trooping of the Colour

The weekend of Jubilee jubilations kicks off on Thursday, June 2 with a special Trooping of the Colour ceremony.

This special military review is an annual tradition that forms part of the monarch's official birthday celebrations. The tradition of kings and queens having two birthdays is thought to have originated with George II in 1748, who didn't believe that the British people would want to come out and celebrate his real birthday in the cold of November.

King Edward VII, Queen Elizabeth II's great-grandfather, standardized the official monarch's birthday celebrations when he inherited the throne from Queen Victoria in 1901.

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. in Horse Guards Parade at the end of The Mall and the colour (a regimental flag) will be trooped by the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.

Members of the royal family traditionally attend the Trooping of the Colour ceremony and process down The Mall from Buckingham Palace in open carriages. In 2019, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry attended the ceremony, the last time it has been held since the pandemic.

Queen Elizabeth II Trooping The Colour 2018
Queen Elizabeth II is due to attend a special Platinum Jubilee Trooping of the Colour ceremony on June 2. TF-Images/Getty Images

Platinum Jubilee Flypast

Following the military review, the members of the royal family and queen traditionally ride back to Buckingham Palace down The Mall ready to take their places on the iconic palace balcony for a "flypast" performed by the Royal Air Force.

The members of the royal family who have been invited to stand on the balcony this year have been restricted to those that undertake official engagements on behalf of the queen. This includes her children Prince Charles, Prince Edward and Princess Anne, as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton.

Prince Andrew, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have not been invited to stand on the balcony as they have stepped down as working royals.

Trooping of the Colour 2019
The balcony appearance after the jubilee Trooping of the Colour is to be restricted to working members of the royal family. The royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony on June 8, 2019. Neil Mockford/GC Images

Jubilee Beacons

Two-thousand special jubilee beacons will be lit on the evening of June 2 to mark the queen's jubilee across the U.K and the commonwealth. The first beacon will be lit outside Buckingham Palace and in accordance with the royals' eco-credentials, the "lighting" will involve illuminating The Queen's Green Canopy 'Tree of Trees' sculpture on The Mall.

Friday, June 3

Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral

A national service of thanksgiving has played a part in all of the major jubilees in modern royal history.

For the Platinum Jubilee, St Paul's Cathedral is to play host to the service and the recently refurbished bell "Great Paul" will be rung especially for its first royal occasion since the 1970s.

Members of the royal family are expected to attend the service however, the queen's attendance will not be confirmed until that day.

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Thanksgiving
Queen Elizabeth II will be honored with a service of thanksgiving to commemorate her Platinum Jubilee on Friday June 3. Pictured, the Queen during the Diamond Jubilee, June 5, 2012. Tim Hales/WPA Pool /Getty Images

Saturday, June 4

The Epsom Derby

The Epsom Derby is one of Britain's biggest horse racing events as a part of the five English classic races.

The queen is a passionate horsewoman as well as a breeder of some of the country's finest racehorses. The 96-year-old monarch has won every one of the English classic horse races apart from the Derby and hopes were high that she could achieve this in her jubilee year.

The queen's entries for the Derby were withdrawn earlier this month on the grounds that they were not at the standard needed to compete. It is reported that the monarch still hopes to be able to attend the event with members of her close family.

Queen Elizabeth II Epsom Derby 2017
The Epsom Derby has been factored in as a key event in the Platinum Jubilee weekend. Queen Elizabeth II attends annually wherever possible. Warren Little/Getty Images

Platinum Party at the Palace Concert

Topping off a royal day at the races, an extraordinary pop concert is planned to take place outside Buckingham Palace with a crowd of over 22,000 people attending alongside the royals.

The lineup for the concert has been announced by the BBC and will include performances from Sir Elton John, Lin Manuel Miranda, and the band Queen with the addition of Adam Lambert.

The night will be closed by a set from the queen of Motown, Diana Ross, who said of the opportunity:

"I have had the honor of meeting The Queen many times throughout my life, including when I was with my family. Her Majesty has and continues to be such an incredible inspiration to so many across the world and I was absolutely delighted to receive an invitation to perform on such a momentous and historic occasion."

Buckingham Palace Jubilee Concert
A Platinum Party at the Palace concert is planned to take place on June 4 with a superstar lineup. Pictured, the Diamond Jubilee concert. June 4, 2012. David Bebber/WPA Pool/Getty Images

Sunday, June 5

The Big Jubilee Lunch

The Big Jubilee Lunch is an event going on across Britain and the Commonwealth where communities come together to share a meal in celebration of the queen's reign.

So far over 60,000 people have registered to host Big Jubilee Lunches from small family BBQs to large traditional community street parties.

Queen Eizabeth II Jubilee Street Party
The Big Jubilee Lunch will take place around the world on June 5. Photographed for the Diamond Jubilee, June 2, 2012. Andrew Cowie/AFP/GettyImages

Platinum Jubilee Pageant

The grand finale to the central weekend of jubilee celebrations is planned to be a grand pageant representing highlights from the queen's 70-year reign.

The centerpiece of the pageant will be the Gold State Coach, which was made in the year 1760 and used by every monarch at their coronation since George IV.

During the pageant, the coach will feature projections in its windows of film footage taken on the queen's coronation day in 1953.

The pageant will also feature a host of famous faces paying tribute to the queen in a grand finale outside Buckingham Palace, including a special performance by superstar musician Ed Sheeran.

The pageant is reported to be watched by an expected audience of up to a billion viewers across the globe.

Gold State Coach Golden Jubilee 2002
The Gold State Coach will be a central part of the Platinum Jubilee pageant to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's 70-year reign. The Gold State Coach is pictured during the Golden Jubilee, June 4, 2002. Anwar Hussein/WireImage
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