Four days of celebrations honoring Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee—seventy years on the throne—got underway on Thursday with a display of British military traditions.
The jubilee is commemorated with a four-day holiday weekend.
A 70-aircraft flypast soars over Buckingham Palace as part of the #PlatinumJubilee celebrations.
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— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 2, 2022
The celebration of Elizabeth’s reign includes a service of thanksgiving on Friday at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, a concert at Buckingham Palace on Saturday, and a pageant staged by thousands of performers drawn from schools and community groups around the country on Sunday afternoon.
Throughout the weekend, neighborhood organizations and individuals are expected to hold thousands of street parties around the country, repeating a tradition that began with the queen’s coronation in 1953.
In a written jubilee message, the queen thanked people in Britain and across the Commonwealth involved in organizing the celebrations.
“I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions,” Elizabeth said.
“I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm,” she said.
The 96-year-old queen is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the first to reach the milestone of seven decades on the throne.
Jill and I wish Your Majesty a joyful Platinum Jubilee celebration. On behalf of the United States, congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on an unprecedented 70 years of service to the UK and Commonwealth and thank you for your friendship to the American people. pic.twitter.com/mwaZSYBuhZ
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 2, 2022
Jubilee: Queen Elizabeth reigned through major political changes
She has reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes, such as devolution in the United Kingdom, accession of the United Kingdom to the European Communities, Brexit, Canadian patriation, and the decolonization of Africa.
Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Her father ascended the throne on the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936, from which time she was the heir presumptive.
She met Prince Philip, a prince of Greece and Denmark, when she was only thirteen. Squired about a naval ship by Philip, who was her third cousin, Elizabeth was smitten and would have no other as her spouse.
In 1947, she married Philip, and made him Duke of Edinburgh, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, with whom she had four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth—then 25 years old—became head of the Commonwealth and queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon.