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The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations day by day

A Jubilee street party in 2012 (Rui Vieira/PA)
A Jubilee street party in 2012 (Rui Vieira/PA)

As the nation gears up to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, here is how the festivities will unfold as the UK pays tribute to its longest-reigning monarch.

– Thursday June 2

The official programme begins with the Trooping the Colour military spectacle.

More than 1,500 officers and soldiers and 350 horses from the Household Division will stage the display on Horse Guards Parade in central London, with the colour trooped by the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards.

Some 400 musicians from 10 military bands and corps of drums will march amid pomp and pageantry.

Trooping the Colour
The Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The royal family will travel from Buckingham Palace along The Mall to the parade ground in carriages, with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal on horseback.

Plans are said to be in place either for the Queen briefly to inspect the troops on the parade ground or from the balcony with the Duke of Kent, or to only appear on the balcony with the royal family for a special flypast afterwards.

If the Queen does delegate her salute duties at Trooping to another family member, it will be the first time she has done so in her 70-year reign.

Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, William and the Duchess of Cambridge, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, Anne, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will be on the balcony for the flypast.

The Queen limited the numbers to working royals, meaning the Duke of York and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will not be there.

But her Cambridge great-grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, and her two youngest grandchildren, the Wessexes’ children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn, will be present.

A six-minute display by more than 70 aircraft will include the Red Arrows and the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Trooping the Colour
The Trooping the Colour balcony appearance in 2018 (Yui Mok/PA)

In the evening, more than 3,000 beacons will be set ablaze across the UK and the Commonwealth in tribute to the Queen.

The network of flaming tributes will stretch throughout the country, with beacons at sites including the Tower of London, Windsor Great Park, Hillsborough Castle and the Queen’s estates of Sandringham and Balmoral, and on top of the UK’s four highest peaks.

The first beacons will be lit in Tonga and Samoa in the South Pacific, and the final one in the central American country of Belize.

The principal beacon outside the Palace – a 21-metre tall Tree of Trees sculpture for the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative – will be illuminated by a senior member of the royal family, and images will be projected on to the Palace.

– Friday June 3

A traditional service of thanksgiving will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London.

There will be no ceremonial journey to the cathedral and the Queen, if she attends, will use a different entrance to aid her comfort rather than the steep main steps.

Diamond Jubilee celebrations
The Queen arriving at St Paul’s Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving for her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 (Jeff J Mitchell/PA)

Wider members of the family are expected to be present including possibly Harry, Meghan and Andrew, and the service will be followed by a Guildhall reception for members of the royal family.

– Saturday June 4

The Queen was due to attend the Epsom Derby, but she no longer plans to do so in order to pace herself throughout the weekend.

The Princess Royal is expected to represent the monarch at the racecourse, where up to 40 past and present jockeys who have ridden for the Queen are due to form a guard of honour.

Saturday is also the first birthday of Harry and Meghan’s daughter Lilibet, amid speculation the youngster could spend the day with her namesake great-grandmother.

The Sussexes are flying over from the US with Lili, who has never met the Queen in person before, and her older brother Archie.

In the evening, the BBC’s Party at the Palace – set on three stages in front of Buckingham Palace – will entertain a live crowd of 22,000 people and a television audience of millions.

Platinum Jubilee
An artist’s impression of the stages outside Buckingham Palace for the Platinum Party at the Palace (BBC/PA)

The line-up includes Diana Ross, Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Nile Rodgers, Andrea Bocelli, Duran Duran, Bond composer Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow and George Ezra.

The show will also feature appearances from stars including Sir David Attenborough, Emma Raducanu, David Beckham, Stephen Fry and Dame Julie Andrews.

Charles and William are preparing to deliver public tributes at the concert to the Queen, who will be watching on television from Windsor.

– Sunday June 5

Millions of people are expected to sit down with their neighbours at street parties, picnics and barbecues, with more than 85,000 Big Jubilee Lunches being held across the UK on the Sunday afternoon,

Camilla, patron of the Big Lunch, will join Charles at a flagship feast at The Oval cricket ground in south London, while the Earl and Countess of Wessex will meet people creating the “Long Table” down on The Long Walk leading up to Windsor Castle.

The celebration also coincides with this year’s Thank You Day –  originally set up to pay tribute to those who helped people through the pandemic.

Platinum Jubilee Pageant
The Hatchling dragon puppet which will be part of the Jubilee Pageant (Platinum Jubilee Pageant/PA)

Celebrities Ross Kemp, Gareth Southgate, Prue Leith and Ellie Simmonds have urged people to throw the biggest thank you party for the Queen.

The finale on June 5 is the Jubilee Pageant through the streets of London.

Set to be watched by up to a billion people across the globe, more than 10,000 people have been involved in staging the £15 million procession.

Puppet corgis, a giant 3D wire bust of the Queen and the Gold State Coach are just some of the sights set to feature in the 3km parade.

Stars including Idris Elba, Sir Cliff Richard, Courtney Love and Slade’s Noddy Holder will take to open-top buses in a through-the-ages tribute to the culture and music of the seven decades of the Queen’s reign.

It is hoped the monarch will make a final appearance on the Palace balcony to round off the weekend to see a musical finale of Ed Sheeran singing the national anthem with a choir made up of nearly 200 celebrities.

– Other events

William and Kate will visit Wales over the bank holiday, Edward and Sophie will travel to Northern Ireland and Anne to Scotland for official engagements.

Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
The Tower of London will be surrounded by a field of millions of colourful flowers for the Jubilee (Richard Lea-Hair/Historic Royal Palaces/PA)

Big screens will be set up in The Mall and St James’s Park in London, Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh and in Bute Park in Cardiff across the weekend.

The Tower of London’s Superbloom – 20 million seeds planted in the moat to create a spectacular meadow – opens from June 1 until September and features a family-friendly slide for visitors to shoot down into the attraction.