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Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Celebrations 2nd-5th June 2012
Ascending the Throne
Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen on 2nd June 1952 following the death of her father, King George V1th. At her coronation ceremony the Queen promised to serve her people and her Commonwealth- a promise that she has not broken .
Fast forward sixty years- years of change where Britain lost its Empire but saw the rise of the family of the Commonwealth . The Queen is still doing her duty, although now aged 86 years old and a great grandmother. The celebrations to honour her Diamond Jubilee spanned four days where people were encouraged to get together with families and friends to celebrate her sixtieth anniversary. This is my own tribute which will be ectended once more photography and videography becomes available.
Former Prime Ministers
Many people have expressed surprise that the former Prime Minister Tony Blair and his successor Gordon Brown do not seem to have been invited to the Jubilee Celebrations. Some have assumed that this was the Palace demonstrating their dislike of the Labour Party and the Queen's personal wrath against Tony Blair on the moth balling of Britannia. the Queens Yacht. There is a simple explanation of why former Prime Minister Sir John Major appeared- it is simply because he is Knight of the Garter and therefore is entitled to be invited.
Derby Day 2012
Her Majesty the Queen is well known for her love of dogs and horses and it is the latter that were racing at Epsom for Derby Day on the 2nd June 2012. The Queen was not to be disappointed with the day; it was a father and son win for the O'Brien family. The mount, Camelot trained by father, Aidan O'Brien was ridden by son Joseph to victory in one of the keenest watched races of the year. Joseph is only 19 years old but managed to cruise his horse to a five length victory- what a start to the celebrations!
The River Thames Pageant
Sunday dawned around the country as a very dull day- amlost wintry- except where we were in Brighton; perhaps the flotilla should have converged on Brighton Marina rather than the River Thames.
It is fair to say that there were a lot of boats - but there were also a lot of people lining the banks of the River Thames, cold and wet but happy and cheering them and the Royal Family on. The Queen, her husband and immediate heirs took part in the procession and then mounted an inspection of all those taking part from their barge -"The Spirit of Chartwell". It is fair to say that Tony Blair was no where in sight- I don't think anyone has forgiven him for scrapping the Royal Yacht Britannia.
The Queen and her familly stood on the deck of the barge for nearly four hours with infrequent forraries below for a quick warm and refreshments. Sensibly in my view the Royal family were split between several vessels, with Princess Anne in uniform standing to attention in a Naval patrol vessel. Quite a few famous and household names were invited and I am sure that spectators and viewers must have been searching for someone they recognised.
Many streets had parties- In Piccadilly there was the largest Street party with guest limited to an hour a time. Rumour has it that most guests ordered their lunch from Fortnum and Masons at £48 per head- Recession, what recession, we are here to party. Prior to joining the River Thames flotilla the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall (Charles and Camilla) were spotted joining the crowds at the party in Piccadilly.
The Prime Minister had his own street party, hurriedly moved in from Downing Street to No 10 when the rain set in as he had guests from 5 to 96 years of age. He had left the flotilla to the Queen, it was her occasion and he did not wish to grab any attention- can't imagine Tony Blair showing such restraint! The Prime Minister used the party to illustrate his concept of the BIg Society, getting people involved at local level- I guess its just like our church having lunch at the local pub!
The Jubilee Concert
Wow there was a concert on one's front drive, and what a front drive. The concert was held on the fountain just outside the palace gates which were actually wide open! Sensibly it seems the Queen and family had retired to Windsor to leave the palace to all the technicians and security needed to make the concert a success. Opened by Robbie Williams the concert featured a number of superstars- Kylie, Stevie Wonder, Annie Lennox, Sir Paul McCartney and Tom Jones- Perhaps the biggest highlight of the show for many was the impromptu rendition of Two Little boys by Rolf Harris as a time filler. The song was stopped once the show was back on the road but such was the enjoyment I would guess the producers name will not be on the New Years Honours List.. The List of Acts performing has not been pubished but here is my best effort in addition to those listed above-
Jessie J (from the Voice)
Madness- singing from the Palace roof "Our House"
Also there were 200 performers including the "Military Wives" who sang the especially composed Jubilee anthem simply called "Sing".
The Cameras regularly panned the Royal Family who look relaxed and were singling along and we spotted the Archbishop of Canterbury singing along too.
The Queen came in mid way through the concert accompanied by Charles and his wife. At the end of the concert she was taken on stage where Prince Charles gave a lovely speech talking not only of his mother the monarch but also "mummy". He mentioned that she was only 26 years old when she became Queen and took on this awesome responsibility. Prince Charles announced that his father was unwell and urged the crowed to cheer loudly so that he could hear from his hospital bed! It later transpired that the Prince was taken to hospital that after noon following a bladder infection.
Service of Thanksgiving at St Pauls
Tuesday 5th June saw the ceremonial part of the celebrations that many had been waiting for. For the first time as Queen she attended a major service without the steadfast arm of her husband as Prince Philip was still in hospital