© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth arrives to celebrate the platinum jubilee of the mare at the Royal Windsor Horse Show at Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, on May 15, 2022. Steve Parsons / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo
Written by Michael Holden
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain this week will mark the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s record-breaking accession to the throne with four days of festivities ranging from military parades, religious rites, street parties and a pop concert outside Buckingham Palace.
Elizabeth, 96, celebrated seven decades on the throne in February, and two bank holidays were set aside to create a four-day weekend to commemorate her reign from June 2-5.
It is not clear how many of those the Queen will attend herself, as she has been forced to miss a number of official appointments in recent months due to what Buckingham Palace describes as “occasional mobility issues”. Royal officials say their participation will be decided on that day.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised “Elizabeth the Great” in Parliament last week, saying her service and dedication to duty were unparalleled.
“I hope that in the coming days… with every torch, with every concert and street party and acrobatic show, we can show the love and dedication to bring back the love, dedication and leadership that you’ve shown across the country over seven years.” contracts,” he said.
The four days of events begin on Thursday with the traditional military parade of Trooping the Color in central London, followed by a flyby of modern and historic aircraft.
The Queen will also appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet the crowd, although the two most controversial members of the royal family – her son Prince Andrew and grandson Prince Harry – are absent.
In February, Andrew settled a US lawsuit alleging that he sexually assaulted Virginia Joffrey. He previously resigned from his public office due to his links to the recently convicted US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Harry, the youngest son of Prince Charles, has abandoned his royal duties to move to Los Angeles with his American wife, Meghan, as they launch stinging criticism and accusations of racism against the royal family.
However, both are likely to attend other engagements over the long weekend. Another notable absence is her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last April at the age of 99 after 73 years by her side.
Service, horse races, parties
Thanksgiving will be held at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, while the Queen will attend a horse derby with other family members on Saturday. Later, a concert will take place in front of Buckingham Palace, featuring the likes of rock band Queen, pop band Duran Duran, and American singer Diana Ross.
The festivities conclude with street parties and a parade in the British capital on Sunday.
Elizabeth became Queen of Great Britain and more than a dozen other empires, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, when her father was King George VI. He died on February 6, 1952 while on an international tour in Kenya.
At the time, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Harry Truman led the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, while Winston Churchill was British Prime Minister.
In September 2015, she overtook her great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning in nearly 1,000 years of a dynasty that traces its origins back to Norman King William I and the conquest of England in 1066.
During her seven decades on the throne, the Queen has been a symbol of stability in the country through major social, economic and political changes, including the end of the British Empire.
“Her Majesty the Queen has not only had a lasting role in the lives of most of your subjects, but you are also the third longest-reigning in world history,” the Speaker of Parliament said in a statement.
Opinion polls show that she is still very popular and respected, although they indicate a growing apathy towards the monarchy among young people.
A poll conducted by YouGov for the Republican campaign group last Thursday also showed that more than half of those surveyed were not interested in the anniversary.
“An anniversary isn’t a national celebration, it’s a minority participation,” said Graham Smith of Republic. “The lack of interest across the country and among all age groups under 65 shows that the future of the monarchy is in great doubt.”