In January 2011, I moved from NYC to London for three months to report on William and Kate’s wedding for CBS News.
After living in the US for 15 years, I was thrilled to have the chance to go home for an extended period of time – and was even more excited to sit in the front row at the largest wedding of its kind since Andrew and Fergie said ‘I will’ in 1986†
Despite there being little to discuss in the early weeks, we still filmed daily segments on a wide variety of royal wedding themes. Americans couldn’t get enough and on multiple occasions American anchors, almost breathless with anticipation, asked if everyone in the UK was “excited” about the big day.
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As we were three months away, Brits were about as excited as they would have been for a colonoscopy, but as the wedding drew closer, the buzz started to build.
On April 29, more than a million flag-waving revelers poured into the capital to take part in the festivities. Across the country, millions more had picnics and street parties, and an estimated 24.5 million people watched the splendor unfold on TV.
It may have taken a while to get going, but as the nation came together in a haze of red, white and blue, the palpable sense of joy was impossible to ignore. Now, with just five days to go before the Platinum Jubilee celebrations kick off, there’s another shiver of excitement in the air.
From Trooping the Color to a Thanksgiving service, a concert at the Palace, the Epsom Derby, Big Lunch and a spectacular procession with 10,000 performers from across the Commonwealth, the UK is on the cusp of some memorable days.
The anniversary “is an opportunity for the country to come forward with new energy,” Nicholas Coleridge, co-chair of the Jubilee Pageant, said recently. “It will be a sort of reopening ceremony for the UK after a period of uncertainty and hardship, a catalytic moment of unity and joy.”
Indeed, the pageant itself, the largest and most ambitious of the set-piece hurrah, will highlight a dazzling display of creativity, technology, ingenuity and humor as it charts each decade of the Queen’s reign, from the 1950s to today.
It is only the eighth royal election in the institution’s history – the first was for King George III in 1809 – and promises to pay tribute to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, while also recognizing the nation’s achievements since its inception. beginning of the second Elizabethan era.
According to Coleridge, “Queen Victoria’s parades were almost entirely military with regiments from all over the Empire marching to salute the Queen Empress.” But, he says, “Our election has many goals in these more sensitive times.”
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By celebrating the multicultural society that exists today, the organizers hope to show the best of Britain to the rest of the world.
With large numbers expected to pour into the capital for each day of the festivities, royal assistants have been quick to consider that the Queen’s presence will be confirmed at the last minute.
Aware of the public’s desire to see her take center stage, sources say she “plans to attend as many events as possible,” but they also emphasized the need to maintain a realistic approach.
Given her ongoing “mobility issues” and the dangers associated with getting a 96-year-old from point A to point B comfortably, one can understand why, but given her aversion to disappointing people, she will no doubt do her best to to show up when she can.
As a devout Christian, Thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral on June 3 will likely be high on her list of priorities, as will the Derby at Epsom Downs on June 4. As a horse racing fan, it would be wrong to begrudge her one. of the greatest joys of her life.
But now that Trooping the Color returns to London after a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19, aides hope she’ll be able to attend at least part of her official birthday parade.
Last weekend, the Sunday of Great Britain Time claimed that the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Princess Anne will deliver the royal salute in the Queen’s place during the military display being held at Horse Guards Parade.
Though the arrangements remain fluid, there are tentative plans for the Queen to travel by carriage to inspect the troops before returning home to rest. If all goes well, she will then reappear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with her family to watch the flypast featuring more than 70 aircraft. Alternatively, she can forego the ceremony altogether and simply appear on the balcony at the end of the parade.
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Disappointing as the opportunity will be for some, it’s because the Queen continues to delegate some of her responsibilities to senior working royals.
Nevertheless, if her absence were to happen, it will be another royal first. As Chief of the Armed Forces, she has personally observed the Royal Salute every year of her reign, except in 1955 when Trooping the Color was canceled due to a national railway strike.
The Queen is humble by nature and doesn’t take compliments easily, nor does she tolerate fuss, but she fully appreciates the greatness of the Platinum Jubilee.
She is arguably the royal family equivalent of the Energiser Bunny, she is well aware of the power of her presence and she is smart enough to know that the four day holiday weekend is the last chance Britons have to see her in such a’ an awesome style to see. Recognizing the benefits of a nationwide party, she will gladly use the historic opportunity to cultivate a sense of unity and pride.
The appeal of the monarchy in a recent interview for ITV, writer and presenter Alan Titchmarsh said: “It makes us special and it matters in our lives … The fact that we have a sovereign who reigns over us for 70 years is huge. impressive. unique. It’s never happened before and it’s unlikely it will happen again.”
As millions around the world prepare to express their gratitude for the Queen’s unwavering devotion to the crown, concessions will inevitably have to be made to ensure her comfort and well-being.
Yet our “Jubilee Girl”—as Dame Edna Everage hilariously called her during the 2002 Golden Jubilee—will be deeply moved by the outpouring of affection from those she has faithfully served.
After 12 long months of planning, the country is finally ready to greet the star of the show.
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