Our residents were very excited for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, we had the live coverage of the Jubilee events on the TV and our own special celebration on the Sunday.
Here are some excerpts from one of our residents, Derek on his experience of the Jubilee weekend;
Day 1 – The Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II (70 years on the throne) – 2nd June 2022
The celebrations began with the spectacular entry of hundreds of guards in their red tunics and black busbies, or plumed helmets, marching in perfect line to music, traditional and new, and skilfully with their instruments counter marching between the rows
70 years have passed since Queen Elizabeth ascended the British throne and became the Head of the Commonwealth. She made a personal vow to serve the people and her arrival marked a period of stability in contrast to the world war that she, with the rest of us inherited. She experienced joy and sorrow and put them behind her by sheer strength of character.
The Trooping of the Colour took place in honour of the Irish Guards of whom Prince William became Colonel in Chief, a most distinguished military display that was long, complex, involving mounted guards, and faultless. I especially liked the dignity of the horse carrying the two drums, no matter how loud they were played; almost as if it was pulling a plough in a straight line. There was also a rare 82 gun salute.
The Queen, advanced in years watched the scene in private, and was replaced by Prince Charles. The handing over of the flag with its battle honours was the highlight, even the soul, of the Irish Guards and done with great dignity. Altogether this event was worthy of this unique occasion, not only in respect of the hundreds of men in formation, but of the horses, with their beautiful shining coats and their movements.
This wonderful event lasted more than two hours until the return to barracks, and the cheering of the dense crowds rose to a crescendo when the Queen appeared on the palace balcony. There followed the most complete fly past of maybe a dozen types of aircraft from the last war to the latest helicopters and Typhoons. The Queen gave a huge smile when they formed a 70 in the sky! Finally, there was a sky burst of red, white and blue smoke trails as nine Red Arrows showed an excellent formation as only they can do.
Day 2 – Thanksgiving Service in St Paul’s Cathedral – 3rd June 2022
Today, the Queen was to be present at this special joyful service, but she needed a rest after the event of yesterday, and once again was represented by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla. As one commentator said, her faith and belief in God has stool her in good stead, especially over the death of her husband of many years, Prince Phillip.
We heard music from the new Master of the Queen’s music, the first woman to fill the post, though the title was left unchanged. The cameras showed the magnificent interior, the very large organ and ample choir stalls at either side of the aisle. The cathedral began to fill up slowly by the various dignitaries who were greeted and escorted to their seats with quiet efficiency. The number of religious leaders testified to the present trend for different faiths to come together in praise. Politicians were also there and in tradition, the Prime Minister gave the first reading. The head of the Anglican Church, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury was recovering from covid and for the homily, the new Archbishop of York made a very one with a light touch. The former Archbishop was interviewed as Lord Sentamu following his retirement. The head of the Catholic Church and a few Greek Orthodox Metropolitans were also present.
Royal family members arrived in a convoy and the Queen must have been pleased to see Prince Harry and Meghan, still popular, greeted warmly. As always, the Queen with great skill, brought together those of different opinions, into one people ‘Great Britain’.
Day 3 – Platinum Party at the Palace – 4th June 2022
The afternoon was at Epsom with horse racing, including the famous Derby. The Queen was again unable to attend but watched the event with the keen eye of an expert. In the evening, there was a concert of singing and dancing before the Palace, from 8 o’clock until 10.30pm. Pop singing was very varied, but the thousands of people had their own favourites and cheered and applauded each item.
It was preceded by a light-hearted sketch, of Paddington Bear at his tea invitation to Her Majesty. The Queen showed her sense of humour when things went wrong for poor Paddington. I remember that in her youth the royal family played charades that they created themselves, and the audience had to guess the subject being acted out.
In the evening, the singers, well known in the pop world, sang before the royals, who were waving small flags and applauding as well as singing the words sung by solo or group artists, beginning with Queen. I thought Rod Stewart was enjoyed when he chose ‘Sweet Caroline’ that was known to most of the crowd. The groups of dancers had their own choreographers. Andrea Bocelli, now white haired, sang ‘Nessun Dorma’ (None shall sleep) by Puccini, and received an ovation for his powerful but beautiful voice.
A special feature was in the computer made images thrown up in front of the Palace, extremely beautiful and complex. The concert lasted 2 ½ hours for those who were stood in the same spot. It was a wonderful evening for the Queen.
Day 4 – Street Parties and Entertainment by the People, Windsor Court Afternoon – 5th June 2022
In the morning the BBC showed excerpts of the previous programmes for people who had missed them. This continued with visits to Care Homes and street parties up and down the country.Previously we had seen the beacons lit everywhere in the UK. This time commentators went about talking to people. This was proof over and over, of the love people had for Queen Elizabeth; also we all realised how much time she had spent in her 70 years talking to ordinary folk of all ages and lifting their spirits everywhere.
Now it was the turn of Windsor Court to gather for an afternoon of songs and flag waving to the voice of Aphrodite. She was a firm favourite with the residents, with her strong mezzo-soprano voice, that gave her a wide range of notes. For her part, she recognised some of the residents, and was a joy to watch and listen to. She always has a wonderful repertoire of popular songs that are within our limits to sing and remember.
The event was held up in the first-floor diner and some residents had their own relatives come along. We just had enough chairs to go round, and were given small union flags to wave, and paper hats to wear. The hour went all too soon, ending with Bill Haley’s rock and roll “one o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock jump”. Then we all packed out the downstairs diner for a light supper, wine and a special cake from Tony the Cook.
I think our party was one of the best!