In an announcement released Sunday, Buckingham Palace laid out plans for several major events in 2022 to honor the long-reigning queen, who is set to turn 96 on April 21.
The elaborate plans, some of which are set to welcome thousands of guests, were publicized weeks after the queen was forced to scale back her family’s annual Christmas celebrations due to rising COVID-19 cases. Queen Elizabeth, whose husband Prince Philip died in April at age 99, has also seen her own share of health scares over the past year, including a stay at the hospital in October and missed events the following month.
On Feb. 6, the matriarch will have officially served as queen for 70 years, the longest a British monarch has ever ruled. The queen’s reign began on the same day in 1952, with the death of her father, King George VI. She was formally crowned on June 2, 1953.
Here’s how fans of the royal family can tune in and participate in the festivities:
May 12-15: The Platinum jubilee celebration
A 90-minute arena theater show is set to include more than 500 horses and 1,000 performers, and promises to “take the audience on a gallop through history from Elizabeth I to the present day,” the palace said.
A four-day UK bank holiday weekend in June
Over the course of four days, the U.K. government will celebrate the queen’s 70 years of service with public events, community activities and national moments of reflection.
June 2: Queen Elizabeth’s birthday parade
The first of several events held during that holiday weekend: the Trooping the Colour, the annual ceremonial birthday parade for the queen. It is scheduled to be the first full staging of the event since the onset of the pandemic, featuring more than 1,200 officers and soldiers. Tickets will be available to the public.
Also on June 2, more than 1,500 towns, villages and cities throughout the U.K. and its territories will light a beacon to mark the Jubilee. Beacons will also be stationed in capital cities, led by a principal beacon, lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
June 3: Service of Thanksgiving
A thanksgiving service will be held at St. Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate the Queen’s reign.
June 4: BBC Platinum Party at the Palace
There will also be a live concert, billed as the “Platinum Party at the Palace,” which the government says will feature some of the “world’s biggest entertainment stars,” though it didn’t identify them.
Beginning in February, U.K. residents will also be invited to apply for tickets, of which the palace says there are “thousands.” Members of the public will also be able to watch a live screening of the concert in the Royal Parkland at the royal Sandringham estate in eastern England, where the royals usually celebrate Christmas.
June 5: The Big Jubilee Lunch and Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Lunch events, dubbed “Big Jubilee Lunches,” are set to be held across the country, including flagship events in London and Cornwall. Over 200,000 neighborhood events are anticipated across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
On this same day, the queen’s reign will also be told through an “awe-inspiriting festival of creativity,” featuring artistic performers, dancers, musicians, military personnel, key workers and volunteers, combining street art, theater, music, circus, costumes and visual technology, the palace said.
A portion of the pageant, called “The River of Hope,” will feature 200 silk flags drawn down The Mall, a road in London between Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. Primary and secondary school students are invited to submit designs for the flags, focusing on climate change and their hopes for the future.
July: The Royal Collection Trust
Three of the most significant occasions in the queen’s reign — the Accession, the Coronation and Jubilees — will be honored with displays staged at the official royal residences, beginning in July.
Buckingham Palace’s Summer Opening of the State Rooms will display 1953 and 1956 portraits of the queen, taken by photographer Dorothy Wilding, along with the jewelry she wore for each.
Windsor Castle will host the coronation dress and Robe of Estate the queen wore for her 1953 coronation.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, will house outfits the queen wore for her past Jubilee events: silver (25 years), golden (50) and diamond (60).
A great British bake-off of sorts, and more lasting initiatives
Calling all fans of “The Great British Baking Show”: a contest dubbed “The Platinum Pudding competition” invites bakers ages 8 and older to submit a new pudding recipe dedicated to the queen. (In the U.K., dessert pudding refers to a sweet dish with a starch or dairy base such as bread pudding, plum pudding or tapioca pudding; not always the custard-like dessert Americans are more familiar with.)
Five finalists will prepare their dishes for a panel of judges that includes “Great British Baking Show” judge Mary Berry, BBC’s “MasterChef: The Professionals” judge Monica Galetti and Buckingham Palace head chef Mark Flanagan. The winning recipe will be served at the big jubilee lunches during jubilee weekend and will be shared with the public.
Another initiative meant to create a lasting legacy: More than 60,000 trees have already been planted in the U.K. as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy project, which invites communities to “plant a tree for the jubilee.”
Each tree is recorded on a digital map, which the palace says will be presented to the queen at the end of the jubilee year. The project is slated to continue into March 2023.
Contributing: The Associated Press