Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee is a very important event for Britain, not just as a glittering display of the respect and affection that her subjects and millions more in the world feel for the widowed matriarch monarch who, at 96, has marked a record 70 years on the throne.
As the Archbishop of York said during a service of thanksgiving to the queen at St. Paul’s cathedral on Friday — at which she canceled her participation at the last minute due to her health — the festivities are a way to thank the sovereign for “staying the course.”
Changes are coming
Her absence from the religious ceremony that in the past she always attended and that saw most of her extended royal family together, including Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, is a sign of another very important reality: that the old order is passing and changes are about to come.
This Jubilee will be her last and already some alterations are in process for Prince Charles to become king.
“It would be a churlish country that treated Elizabeth II’s great longevity and these anniversary events with anything other than goodwill and generosity,” The Guardian writes in an editorial.
As their respect and affection have been clear through the numerous activities underway during the jubilee weekend, also the queen’s low profile and fragility are unmistakable.
“The Queen is an elderly woman, recently widowed,” The Guardian’s editorial notes. “Understandably, she is slowing down. She knows, as we also know, that the old order is beginning to pass. This jubilee cannot be understood without that truth.”
The show goes on
But the show most go on and the Jubilee celebrations that began on Thursday with the Queen’s Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour), a palace balcony appearance, a Royal Air Force flyby and street parties have continued with the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s on Friday, royal attendance at the Derby, Epsom to follow on Saturday and then a party at the Palace on Saturday night with some of the biggest names in music performing.
“The weekend will be rounded off with the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday on The Mall which will culminate in 150 national treasures, including Ed Sheeran, paying tribute to Her Majesty The Queen,” the official program says.
Big screens are broadcasting the events at The Mall in London, Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens and in Cardiff’s Bute Park and are transmitted across the countryvia television across the country.
Millions are expected to sit down to a Big Jubilee Lunch over the weekend with more than 200,000 local events planned that include screenings, street parties and lunches.
Across the Commonwealth and the rest of the world, more than 600 Big Jubilee Lunches are planned in more than 80 countries — from Greenland to New Zealand.
Scores of TV channels and reporters from around the world have flocked to London to cover the historic celebrations.
Once the celebrations end, as The Guardian writes, it must be remembered that “a long, stable and feminised period in the British monarchy’s history is ending. A period of uncertainty lies ahead, when a new king must try to remake the compact between the crown and the public in a Britain that has changed profoundly since 1952, when the Queen succeeded her father.”