Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant will be bigger and bolder than Victoria’s in 1897
About 6,500 performers will turn the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant into the “largest ever put on”, an organiser has revealed.
V&A chairman Nicholas Coleridge, who is co-chairing the pageant, said the event on the final day of jubilee celebrations will top those held in 1897 for Queen Victoria.
He added that the BBC predicts the jubilee weekend for the Queen could have a global audience of one billion people.
Central London will come to life with colour, street theatre and dance in honour of the monarch’s 70 years on the throne as the pageant brings to an end four days of celebrations from June 2 to 5 next year.
The festivities over the extended weekend will include the Trooping of the Colour, a “great lunch” led by the Lord Mayor of London, “the Queen lighting bonfires”, and a BBC concert, Coleridge said.
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester earlier this week, Coleridge focused on what the pageant – with a budget of between £10m and £15m – will involve.
He said: “It’s going to be the largest that’s ever put on, larger we think even than that that was put on for Queen Victoria. That was pretty large, this is larger. It’s going to have 6,500 people taking part in it.”
Coleridge said he hopes the pageant will “try and cheer up the country” following the Covid pandemic.
He added: “At the same time, and massively importantly, we’re going to make sure whilst the Jubilee is based on London because it’s going to be a procession that goes around the parks, through Westminster, under Admiralty Arch, down the Mall, past Buckingham Palace and up past Constitution Hill, it’s not going to be London-centric.”
He went on: “We even have a giant map, making sure that we have people from every part of our country and indeed every part of the Commonwealth.
“We’re going to have people from all 54 Commonwealth countries who are going to be taking part in this astounding parade.
“We’re having all the creative industries in it – 17 different theatre groups have so far signed up to be in it, we’re having enormous sculptures the size of four-storey houses being dragged down the Mall, we’re having a mysterious celebrity singer that if I said it, the entire ‘Team Jubilee’ would be so angry with me that I’d probably never be able to go back into the office.”
We’ve got royals, we’ve got golden coaches and at the heart of it, of course, we’ve got the Queen.
“But on the side of it the levelling up agenda will be fully respected – the North East, the North West, Plymouth, every Member of Parliament I speak to asks me whether their own constituency will be represented.”
Coleridge said he expected the event to be marvellous, adding: “The BBC think it might be watched by approaching a billion people.
“I suspect they may be slightly exaggerating but it’s going to be huge because it’s going everywhere.
“By the end of it I hope we’re going to feel re-energised, highly patriotic and very much one nation as we all celebrate the Platinum Jubilee.”
Tree at Balmoral
Last week, the Queen and the Prince of Wales planted a tree at Balmoral Castle as part of a special initiative marking her Platinum Jubilee.
They poured soil around a copper beech sapling next to a horse paddock and the cricket pavilion on the Aberdeenshire estate, with Charles quipping: “Let’s hope it will survive.”
It marked the start of the planting season for a scheme called the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC), created to mark her 70 years’ service to the nation, which urges people to “plant a tree for the jubilee”.
School pupils from nearby Crathie Primary joined the royals, and handed the Queen a specially made card to mark the end of her traditional summer break at her beloved Scottish residence.
The monarch thanked them for the “very kind” gesture after being presented with the card by Annie Hutchin, aged “six and a half”, and Skye Jones, nine.
Annie said afterwards: “She asked how we made it and said we did a lovely job.”
Some pupils were wearing crowns made of twigs and leaves, prompting the Queen to say: “They don’t look very comfortable, they’re like a bird’s nest.”
Maia MacDougall, 10, said Charles asked what they had been learning and she told him about counting rings on trees to find out how old they were.
She added: “I’ve never been near the Queen before in person and it felt quite strange, because she’s one of the most famous people in the world, but it was pretty cool.
I never thought I would meet her.Maia MacDougall, 10
The Queen and Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay in Scotland, talked with to children, who showed off their nature projects as part of the QGC initiative, after exploring woods in the Balmoral grounds.
The QGC seeks to “inspire young people as the future custodians of the UK’s green spaces, forests and woodlands”.
Crathie Primary School headteacher Lilian Field said: “Being out in the forest really helps the children’s self-confidence, building initiative and for mental health and well-being as well, especially after lockdown.
It was a lovely occasion for us. Giving a card is something we do every year after the Queen finishes her holiday at Balmoral, but this is the first time we’ve given her it in person.headteacher Lilian Field
“We made quite a special card this year. Every child made a picture of a tree and we put it together in a concertina-like way. We’re just hoping the Queen has a big desk she can stretch it out on.”
The QGC was designed to “create a lasting legacy” to the Queen by urging people to start their own tree-planting projects across the UK with the call to action: “Plant a tree for the jubilee.”
It encourages planting between October and March to optimise the chance of trees surviving and flourishing.
Everyone from Scout and Girlguiding groups, through to villages, cities, counties, schools and corporations, are urged to play their part in giving back to the environment.
Meanwhile, a special national edition of the Junior Forester Award has been created for the Jubilee year, in conjunction with the Royal Forestry Society, and the Scottish Forestry Society, to inspire children and give them the practical abilities to help with woodland stewardship in their schools and communities.
Scotland has been a welcome place of sanctuary for the royal family since Queen Victoria‘s day, where they relax and enjoy country pursuits in the stunning setting of the Scottish Highlands.