It’s not often you hear of the 70th celebrations of a monarch’s rule. In fact, it’s literally only happened three times before in all of history.
While Aussies can be pretty indifferent to the Windsor clan, there’s still a lot of respect and admiration for the head of the family. While it’s not all been great, the recent protection of Prince Andrew included, Elizabeth II has been a steadfast symbol of British values for as long as almost anyone alive can remember.
She’s now the UK’s longest-reigning monarch and the world’s third longest-reigning monarch. She is quickly closing in on the world’s second longest-reigning monarch, King Bhumibol of Thailand, who she will surpass after 70 years and 127 days on June 14th. She still has just under two years to out-reign King Louis XIV who sat on the throne of France for 72 years and 110 days, although to be fair he had quite the head start, being crowned when he was only four.
Although we’ve tried to separate ourselves from the monarchy once, in a vote that didn’t quite go to plan for the republicans amongst us, we’re endlessly fascinated with the workings of this ancient institution and its modern-day representatives. Perhaps it’s an overindulgence in The Crown during lockdown, but it’s difficult to find anyone who doesn’t at least have an opinion on the Queen and her many, many relatives.
As it’s coming up to the big anniversary event of her 70th year on the throne, we’ve decided to go ahead and answer all of the internet’s most burning questions about Queen Elizabeth II.
What Is The Platinum Jubilee?
The Platinum Jubilee is basically a big party for Liz to say well done on making it to 70 years on the throne. The actual date of the Platinum Jubilee is June 2, but there will be events happening across the UK and around the world over the next four days.
Given that the UK loves a parade, there’s going to be an Olympic Games level of flag-waving, pageantry, and ancient celebrities paying tribute to the Queen. The whole country is decked out in Union Jack memorabilia and will get a four-day public holiday weekend to celebrate. London is going to be absolutely heaving with events while almost all cities and villages will be hosting community gatherings and parties.
It all kicks off on Thursday, June 2 with the Trooping the Colour, a big parade centred around Buckingham Palace. Prince William and Kate Middleton will be joined by a host of less well-liked royals on the balcony to wave to their amassed subjects. Elton John, Ed Sheeran, and, of course, Queen will be performing.
How to Watch the Platinum Jubilee in Australia
If you can’t make it to London for the celebration, you can watch the Trooping the Colour on Channel Seven on Thursday, June 2. The coverage kicks off at 8:30pm AEST and ends at 11:50pm. This is a more traditional affair with the carriage procession down The Mall and an RAF Flyover.
The Platinum Party at the Palace is a musical tribute to the Queen’s reign. ABBA, George Ezra, Alicia Keys, and Craig David will perform and you can catch it all on Channel Seven on June 5 at 7pm.
Why Does the Queen Have Two Birthdays?
The Queen has both an official and an actual birthday. She was born on April 21st, 1926 but celebrates her official birthday on the second Saturday of June.
This is a bit of a royal tradition, dating back to King George III in 1748. He was born in November but wanted a warmer, summer celebration for his party so decided to hold his official celebrations on the second Saturday of June to coincide with an already existing military parade, the Trooping the Colour. Presumably, Prince Charles, when he takes over the throne, will continue the tradition but at present, Elizabeth II is the only royal to have two birthdays.
What Are These Beacons About?
So apparently there are going to be beacons lit across the world as part of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. We assume Elizabeth II has had enough of her family and decided to call on Rohan for aid.
Lighting a beacon chain was once a legitimate means of communication but is now used as a symbol of national unity. While some of this is official, from the looks of things, anyone in the UK or overseas territories can seriously just light some stuff on fire in tribute. Huzzah!
Beacons will be lit in a chain from the Principal Beacon on The Mall on June 2 up to Hadrian’s Wall on the border with Scotland. 54 beacons will also be lit in capital cities of Commonwealth Countries.
If you fancy giving it a go yourself, here as some genuine official instructions on how to create a beacon brazier so you too can take part in the burning. Just be sure to tell the firies you’re doing it for her Maj when they inevitably rock up.
Why is The Platinum Jubilee in June?
The Queen was coronated (crowned) on February 6th, 1952, meaning that the actual date of her jubilee was earlier this year. However, jubilee celebrations are traditionally held in June. This was the case with the Sapphire Jubilee and the Diamond Jubilee.
The reason is that her actual coronation anniversary, February, was also when her father, King George VI died, making it a bit of an awkward date to party on. June is also summer in the UK and the weather is (relatively) better.
Are Harry and Meghan Coming?
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be attending the royal festivities. This is somewhat controversial — for the types of people who care about these things — because the pair sort of abdicated themselves from the royal family a few years ago to go and live a life of obscurity on Oprah’s sofa.
This will be their first official visit to the UK since they pushed the eject button and the pair are thought to be keeping a pretty low profile during their visit. They won’t be on the balcony during the official waving but they will be at the Trooping the Colour parade. The first time they will appear in public with the rest of the royal clan will be at a reflection service for the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral.
This will also be the first time that the Queen has met her great-granddaughter, Lilibet, who the Sussex’s named after Elizabeth II, and the first time Harry will be present after the death of his grandfather, Philip.
How many times has Queen Elizabeth visited Australia?
The Queen has visited Australia 16 times in total, with her first visit coming in 1954 on a Commonwealth tour after her coronation. The last time she visited was in 2011 and it’s unlikely that she will visit us again.
Where was the Queen’s coronation held?
The Queen was crowned in Westminster Abbey in London, the place where tradition dictates that all monarchs of the UK are crowned.
The event took place on June 2, 1953, although she ascended to the throne upon the death of George VI on February 6 the previous year. This is royal protocol, giving the new monarch a year to mourn the passing of the previous one.
It was the first British coronation to be televised and there were more than 8,000 people in attendance.
Where does the Queen of England live?
The Queen has a number of official residences, the primary ones being Buckingham Palace in London and the Palace of Windsor in Berkshire. She also has a holiday home where she typically spends the summer, Balmoral Castle in Scotland. The royal family traditionally gather at Sandringham Palace, in Norfolk, for the Christmas period.