We all need a bit of good news right now, don't we? And if you're after something to look forward to, then how about an extra four-day-long bank holiday weekend? You'll be waiting until next year for it, but still, a day (or four) off is exciting, right?
The long weekend is all thanks to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022, which is when she'll be celebrating 70 years on the throne, and today the royal family confirmed the plans that will be put in place to mark it.
The actual anniversary of the Queen's coronation will be on 6 February 2022, but the Platinum Jubilee celebrations are set to take place over a four-day bank holiday weekend from 2 -5 June 2022.
The Platinum Jubilee is thought to be a 'once-in-a-generation show', with the culture secretary calling it a 'truly historic moment' and a 'celebration to remember' when the extra bank holiday was confirmed last November. At the time, Buckingham Palace said 'The Queen hopes that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to join the celebrations,' and now it looks like they're going ahead with 'normal' plans fit for a (hopefully) post-COVID world.
According to the royal family, the extended bank holiday weekend 'will provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone.'
So what's on the agenda? Quite a lot, so get your best dress, your bunting, and your egg and cress sandwiches at the ready.
Trooping the Colour (Thursday 2 June)
The Queen's birthday parade will feature over 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians starting at Buckingham Palace, moving down The Mall to Horse Guard's Parade, where they'll be joined by members of the royal family on horseback and in carriages. It's usually held on the second Saturday in June, and always ends with a traditional RAF fly-past, watched by The Queen and other family members from the Buckingham Palace balcony.
Lighting of Platinum Jubilee Beacons (Thursday 2 June)
Beacons will be lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories, as well as in each of the capital cities of the Commonwealth countries to celebrate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Service of Thanksgiving (Friday 3 June)
A formal service will be held at St Paul's Cathedral.
The Derby at Epsom Downs (Saturday 4 June)
A race day that will be attended by The Queen herself as well as other members of the royal family.
A live concert ‘Platinum Party at the Palace’ (Saturday 4 June)
The BBC will stage and broadcast a special live concert from Buckingham Palace (lineup TBC) to celebrate the most significant moments from the Queen’s seven decade reign. Members of the public will be able to apply for tickets via a ballot.
The Big Jubilee Lunch (Sunday 5 June)
Encouraging individual communities to come together and celebrate with one another with food and fun. 'A Big Jubilee Lunch can be big or small - street party or picnic, tea and cake or a garden barbecue,' says the royal family.
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant (Sunday 5 June)
A pageant featuring over 5,000 people from the world of street art, theatre, music, circus, carnival and costume.
The Queen became the longest-reigning British monarch in 2015, when she surpassed her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria's reign, so achieving 70 years on the throne will be a first.
However, while it's a four-day weekend extravaganza of plans, we're actually only getting one extra day off. The May Spring Bank Holiday, which is usually held on the last Monday of the month of May, will be moved to Thursday 2 June, with Friday 3 June becoming an extra bank holiday.
The reason behind the Jubilee's move to June (rather than the Queen's actual coronation date in February) is simply down to June having better weather for celebrations than February - the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and her Diamond Jubilee in 2012 also took place in June.
It's also thought to be down to the fact that the Queen began her reign on the day her father, King George VI died, and she's thought to not want to celebrate on the day of his death.
Well, that's something big to look forward to!
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