As details of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant – one of the largest public events ever held in London – are announced, VisitEngland looks at other Jubilee celebrations scheduled across the country.
Marking 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, the Diamond Jubilee celebrations will celebrate around an extended weekend on 2 – 5 June 2012. Officially recently unveiled, the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on Sunday 3 June will see a procession of 1,000 boats travel down the Thames, from Battersea to Tower Bridge, flanking the Royal Barge which will transport the Queen. The procession, which will include vessels of all shapes and sizes from around the world, including tall ships and square riggers, fishing and cargo boats, yachts, tugs, steamers and canoes, is expected to be the biggest televised event ever to take place.
VisitEngland Chairman, Lady Cobham said: “The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant is a remarkable undertaking and a fantastic draw for London. However, the rest of England has also been gripped by the occasion and there are celebrations taking place throughout the country, from the royal family’s official residences, stately homes and national galleries, to parks and public spaces and in private gardens and family homes.”
Here are just a few of VisitEngland’s highlights of the Jubilee year calendar:
Sixty Photographs for Sixty Years – The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle
Opening on 4 February, an exhibition of 60 photographs of The Queen, including the work of leading press photographers of the past six decades, will go on display at Windsor. The exhibition presents a portrait of The Queen’s reign as captured in fleeting moments on both official occasions and at relaxed family gatherings.
The exhibition includes pictures of Queen Elizabeth II on regional and international official visits, leading the nation on Remembrance Day, in the Garter Day procession at Windsor, hosting Heads of State and inspecting the graduating officer cadets at Sandhurst. It also records important personal and family milestones and her lifelong love of equestrianism and of her corgis. The exhibition will run until January 2013. www.royalcollection.org.uk
The Wild, the Beautiful and the Damned at Hampton Court Palace
Running 5 April – 30 September 2012, this royal-themed exhibition tells a story about the fascination of love, glamour, celebrity, lust and power and involves some of the key characters that lived, loved and died at Hampton Court Palace – Charles II, James II, William III & Queen Mary II and Queen Anne. Beauty was a good thing: it was a reflection of divine perfection, an indication of virtue.
This temporary exhibition will contain magnificent artworks to reveal the stories and scandals, and will include items from the Royal Collection and other public and private collections, many of which are not currently on display. http://www.hrp.org.uk
The World Comes to Windsor Castle
Held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle on the evenings of 10, 11 and 13 May, the Diamond Jubilee Pageant will pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign in a performance that brings together over 500 horses and 800 international performers. Dance, music, military and equestrian displays from around the world will feature in this major show: Around the World in 60 Years and 90 minutes.
Visitors will be taken on a journey around the world, reflective of the Queen’s State and Commonwealth visits during her rain: starting out from London and visiting the Americas, Australasia, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and finally Great Britain. The seven acts draw from their respective continent, ensuring a colourful cultural display. Tickets available at www.diamond-jubilee-pageant.com
Bright, Shiny Diamond Jubilee Beacons – various locations
England has a centuries-long history of beacon lighting to mark national events and the beacon is widely recognised as a symbol of united celebration. On 4 June, 2,012 beacons will be lit across the whole of the United Kingdom, as they were for the Queen’s Silver and Golden Jubilees.
Locations already confirmed include the highest school in England, Flash Church of England school in Staffordshire (which has just 10 pupils); three of His Grace the Duke of Westminster’s estates in Sutherland, Cheshire and Lancashire; and 60 beacons along the length of Hadrian’s Wall – one for every year of the Queen’s reign. www.diamondjubileebeacons.co.uk
Go Down to the (Diamond) Woods – various locations
To celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, the Woodland Trust is helping millions of people to come together with their communities to plant 6 million trees. The Jubilee Woods Project, fronted by Patron HRH The Princess Royal, aims to create hundreds of Jubilee Woods across the country, and 60 special Diamond Woods, of at least 60 acres – to transform our landscape in a generation and provide a lasting legacy for many years to come. This includes the Trust’s new Flagship Diamond Wood in the heart of The National Forest in Leicestershire, a haven for wildlife and a monument to Her Majesty. To find out more or get involved, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk
Partake in a Big Jubilee Lunch – Countrywide
Building on the established Big Lunch initiative, the Big Jubilee Lunch will encourage friends and neighbours to share lunch in their local neighbourhoods on Sunday 3 June. Based on the premise that a connected community is a safe and happy community, the Big Lunch Initiative was founded by the Eden Project in 2009 and provides the tools and support needed for members of the public to organise and encourage shared neighbour lunches once a year, and as a result to build lasting and valuable connections.
The initiative hopes to double participation numbers in 2012, and to create an annual Thanksgiving Day of sorts, all of our own. To find out more about hosting or joining a Big Lunch, visit www.thebiglunch.com
A Capital Celebration – London’s Exhibitions
In addition to the river pageant, London will be host to several exhibitions on the Royal Family and the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Showing at the V&A from 8 February – 22 April, Cecil Beacon’s Royal Portraits will include 60 photographs depicting the Royal Family at home and on official occasions.
A new permanent exhibition opening at Kensington Palace on 26 March, Victoria Revealed, will look at the life and reign of Queen Victoria – England’s longest-reigning monarch – while Tower Bridge will be re-presenting the Crown Jewels exhibition for the Jubilee year, with new displays showing the jewels like never before.
For more information on Jubilee events around the country, visit www.enjoyengland.com/jubilee