France Press agency , Posted on Thursday, May 26, 2022 at 07:13
A parade, a walk across the country, a concert and a royal family on the balcony: Next week the UK will celebrate the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth II’s rule, a historic record marked in a period of transition for the monarchy.
Having tested sections of Brexit, tired of the pandemic and its restrictions and now stifled by rising prices, Britons will be able to take advantage of a long weekend that begins on Thursday, 2 June.
If the 96-year-old’s recent health and mobility issues have raised fears of her withdrawal, the monarch has doubled down on surprise appearances in recent days, opening a metro line named after her, attending an equestrian show or surfing the aisles of a large gardener’s event in a chauffeur-driven golf cart.
But in a sign of the ongoing transition, her son Prince Charles, heir to the crown, replaced her in the annual address marking the start of the Parliamentary year. He was actually responsible for her representation abroad for several years.
Before MPs on Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will salute the head of state ‘the rock’ that the British ‘established’ seven decades ago, a ‘wonderful woman’ who ‘has dedicated her life to her people’, in the Commonwealth and ‘to the idea of what a constitutional monarchy could and should be’ , according to excerpts from his speech.
Elizabeth II ascended the throne at the age of 25 on February 6, 1952, when her father, King George VI, died of lung cancer at the age of 56.
Mayor of living kings, it recently rose to the third place in terms of longevity among sovereigns of sovereign states, surpassed by King Louis XIV of France, who died in 1715 and Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), who died in 2016.
– giant picnic –
In London, from Oxford Street to the Mall, yellow Macadam Street leads to Buckingham Palace, flags are displayed proudly, foreshadowing the scale of the festivities.
They will kick off Thursday with Trooping The Color, which marks the Queen’s official birthday, with over 1,500 soldiers, musicians, 240 horses and an overview of the RAF.
The traditional balcony look will be restricted to working royals. Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, despite visiting from their exile in California, were left out, as was Prince Andrew, who had to pay millions of pounds to avoid prosecution in the United States for sexual assault charges.
Also on the programme, a religious ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday and a horse race and a big party at Buckingham Palace on Saturday.
In total, more than 200,000 events have been planned, and organizers expect 10 million people to attend Jubilee Picnics on Sunday, June 5.
On this day, a grand procession will pay tribute to the King and the diversity of the British people. It will bring together 10,000 soldiers, artists and volunteers. According to the organizers, after counting all distributions around the world, the show should be watched by one billion people.
– ‘Very British, very eccentric’ –
“The scale is massive,” show leader Adrian Evans told AFP recently, promising to put on a show that was “very British and very eccentric.”
Among the various paintings on display, one would make a more personal tribute to the Queen, particularly featuring corgis and horses, animals with which the King is particularly associated.
For the occasion, bars will be able to open until 1am, two hours longer than usual. Beer will flow: The British Beer and Pub Association estimates that 90 million liters of beer will be sold for Jubilee, and the sector will benefit from a £105 million (€124 million) boost.
According to a study published by the British Future Research Center, two-thirds of the population are interested in the Jubilee and the majority believe it represents an opportunity for union. 58% want to retain the monarchy, while 25% believe that the end of Elizabeth II’s reign will be the right time for the United Kingdom to become a republic.
But the study notes that low support among young people and among ethnic minorities reflects the need to modernize the monarchy if it is to remain in the hearts of all Britons.