The United Kingdom’s Platinum Jubilee

Posted by on Jun 10, 2022 in Current Events

Sunday, June 5th, brought the conclusion of Queen Elizabeth II’s four-day Platinum Jubilee, a celebration of her seventy years as monarch. At 96 years old, she is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Here, btw takes a closer look at some of the celebration’s most memorable moments, as well as at how the world has changed from the beginning of Queen Elizabeth’s reign to today. 

A Changing World 

When Queen Elizabeth II took office, the Korean War was still going on. Her reign has witnessed many important historical events including: 

  • the rise and fall of the Iron Curtain 
  • the Vietnam War  
  • the decolonization of the African continent 
  • the Space Race 
  • the Cuban Missile Crisis 
  • the birth of the Internet 
  • the Iranian Revolution 
  • the fall of the Soviet Union 
  • China’s Tiananmen Square Massacre 
  • the birth of the European Union and NAFTA 
  • the end of South African apartheid 
  • the Arab Spring 
  • the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 
  • the global COVID-19 pandemic 

Key Moments 

The Platinum Jubilee featured the standard parades, parties, and picnics, but a handful of key moments were especially memorable. The celebration kicked off last Thursday with the Horse Guards Parade, which the Queen watched from her Buckingham Palace balcony. On the same day, 1,500 torches were lit across the nation to celebrate her reign. After the parade, seventy jets formed a giant “70” in the sky above London. On Saturday, a drone light display wrote the words “Thank You Ma’am” in lights in the night sky. They also formed the shape of a corgi (the queen’s favorite dog) and a teapot and teacup. This occurred during the “Platinum Party at the Palace,” which featured performances by Sir Elton John, Alicia Keys, Queen, Diana Ross, and other musicians. Finally, the British Gold Stage Coach helped close out the Jubilee Pageant, a giant carnival on Sunday. The golden coach, which is the third-oldest surviving coach in the United Kingdom, is twenty-four feet long and weighs four tons. This was the same coach the Queen used to travel to her Coronation in 1953. 

But the most memorable moments were the ones that showed the human side of the monarchy. When the fighter jets flew over Buckingham Palace, Prince Louis, age four and the youngest son of Prince William and Duchess Kate, closed his eyes and covered his ears and screamed to show that the planes were too loud. At other times, he waved and made faces, to the delight of the crowd. And at the Platinum Party, a film was shown of Queen Elizabeth and Paddington Bear, the iconic storybook character, having tea together at the palace. 

Family Controversy 

No family is without challenges, and the royal family is no exception. Prince Harry, his wife Meghan Markle, and their two children  were also in attendance at the Jubilee. However, they were not permitted to stand with the Queen and the rest of the family on the Buckingham Palace balcony to greet the crowd. That’s because Harry and Meghan made the decision to move to the U.S. in 2020 and resign from their official royal duties.  

Dig Deeper Although Queen Elizabeth II is the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, several others have celebrated Silver Jubilees (in honor of sixty-year reigns). Use Internet resources to learn more about these celebrations. What elements have changed over the years? What has stayed the same?