Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant a ‘reopening ceremony’ for the country

Giant puppets, marching bands and circus performers will all be part of a pageant to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year.

Street theatre and dance will take over central London in honour of Her Majesty’s 70th year on the throne, with celebrations being described as a “reopening ceremony” for the country by organisers.

The event, which has a budget of between £10 and £15 million, is expected to be one of the biggest events held in the UK in the last decade.

The Mall in London the morning after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out further measures as part of a lockdown in England in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.
Image: The Mall will burst into life next June

On 6 February next year, Queen Elizabeth II will have been the country’s monarch for 70 years – the first time in British history that the milestone will have been reached.

Details of the event, which will take place on 5 June 2022, were announced at the Victoria and Albert museum in London, and will form part of the four-day weekend of celebrations.

Three acts will form the pageant, with first consisting of serving and veteran troops taking part in a march along The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace.

Pageant Master Adrian Evans at the launch of Platinum Jubilee Pageant at the Victoria And Albert Museum, London. Plans have been unveiled for celebrations in June 2022 which will mark the Queen's 70th year on the throne with a Pageant next June. Picture date: Tuesday June 29, 2021.
Image: Pageant master Adrian Evans says the event has the ‘capacity to raise the spirit of the nation’

That will be followed by a performance called Celebration, involving a giant dragon puppet said to be bigger than a double-decker bus and wider than The Mall itself.

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There will also be trapeze artists, huge balloons and acrobats as part of the spectacle.

A specially written story by Sir Michael Morpurgo called There Once Is A Queen will also be brought to life by artists throughout the day.

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The entire performance will cover every decade of the Queen’s reign and also include horses and corgis – two of Her Majesty’s passions.

Details of the pageant’s third and final act are being kept under wraps, with the entire spectacle being funded both privately and publicly.

Nicholas Coleridge, co-chairman of the pageant, said: “The Platinum Jubilee weekend is an opportunity for the country to emerge re-energised and renewed, expressing optimism and confidence.

“It will be something of a reopening ceremony for the United Kingdom, following a period of uncertainty and hardship, a catalysing moment of unity and fun.

File photo dated 13/05/12 of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh arriving at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant in Windsor in Berkshire. The Duke of Edinburgh has died, Buckingham Palace has announced. Issue date: Friday April 9, 2020.. See PA story DEATH Philip. Photo credit should read: Jane Mingay/PA Wire
Image: Proceedings will also including a ‘sprinkling’ of Prince Philip – pictured here at the Diamond Jubilee Pageant

“Through the fusion of ceremonial and pageantry with razzmatazz and festival, we intend to create a spectacle that is at once energising and memorable and a fitting tribute to the Queen.”

Mr Coleridge added there would be a “sprinkling” of Prince Philip’s presence in proceedings, including a reflection of “the way in which we imagine her and the Duke of Edinburgh in their sort of private existence”.

“He is a constant presence,” he said.

Adrian Evans, pageant master, said the celebration “has the capacity to raise the spirit of the nation”.

He added: “You’re doing something which is on such a grand scale, and it’s seen by so many people and so many people feel such a sense of warmth and admiration for the Queen that doing something for her feels like it’s a gift, not just to her but a gift to the nation as well.”

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