Your essential guide to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend – from beacons to the star-studded concert


BRITAIN will blaze with beautiful Jubilee Beacons to mark Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne.

Almost 3,000 will be lit across the UK and abroad on Friday to mark Queen Elizabeth’s record-breaking reign.

Here’s your essential guide to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend – from beacons to the star-studded concert

Celebrations will be both big and small, with community groups, charities and local councils throughout the UK and overseas territories taking part in lighting ceremonies to mark the start of Jubilee weekend.

The principal beacon will be lit in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace by a senior royal on Thursday evening.

It will take the form of a stunning lighting installation with the Queen’s Green Canopy Tree Of Trees sculpture and projections on to the front of Buckingham Palace.

For the first time beacons will be lit in all 54 Commonwealth member states, with the first ones expected to be lit in Tonga and Samoa, and the final one in Belize.



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Councils, communities and organisations up and down the country have applied to host lighting events and there is still time to register yours at, as the deadline is tomorrow.

There is a long tradition of celebrating Royal Jubilees, weddings and coronations with beacons. The last time beacons were lit was for the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.

The Royal Family will gather at 9.25pm for the lighting of the first beacon.

At 9.30pm, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ Anchor Chain will begin the ceremonies in the UK.

At 9.45pm beacons will be lit throughout the UK including at major landmarks such as Windsor Great Park, Sandringham, Balmoral, the Angel of the North and Lambeth Palace, where the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will light a beacon on one of the towers.

At the Tower of London, a beacon will be positioned above the Middle Drawbridge at the famous fortress.

Beacons in overseas territories will be lit at 9.15 local time.

At 9.40, buglers up and down the country will play a specially written call entitled Majesty to announce the lighting of the beacons.
Community choirs will accompany lightings by singing a song composed for the occasion, A Life Lived With Grace. Choirs nationwide, including the Military Wives Choir, will join in.

Almost 3,000 beacons will be lit across the UK and abroad on Friday to mark Queen Elizabeth’s record-breaking reign

Faith leaders from the nine major religions will also light beacons.
Most 56 National Coastwatch stations around the country, from Skegness in Lincolnshire to Boscastle in Cornwall, will be lighting beacons and participating in laser and flag shows.

The NHS Sustainable Beacon project will see the Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust light a more environmentally-friendly beacon in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.

Old and broken hospital beds will be melded into a crown-shaped beacon, to be illuminated in a display.

Instead of the traditional gas flame, the blue light of the NHS will shine across the metal sculpture. Meanwhile, for four nights over the Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, Illuminated River, the world’s longest public artwork, will be lit in a sequence of colour and light.

It will be unveiled at sunset on Thursday and run each night until Monday.

Nine central London bridges will be synchronised with LED lights as part of the display.

Meanwhile, Durham, Ely, Lichfield and Peterborough cathedrals will be lighting up red, white and blue in honour of the Jubilee.

The Shard in London will run a celebratory light display every evening of the weekend.

The National Trust is lighting 26 beacons including wood braziers and timber bonfires.

Locations include historic beacon sites Avebury in Wiltshire and Dunstable Downs in Bedfordshire.

Queen in concert…

WHO can forget the sight of Queen rocker Brian May playing his guitar on the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Golden Jubilee in 2002?

And Queen are back, with Adam Lambert, to open the star-studded Platinum Jubilee concert on Saturday evening.

Brian May on the roof of Buckingham Palace for the Golden Jubilee in 2002

Motown royalty Diana Ross will close the show in her first UK live performance in 15 years.

But Brian is keeping shtum about how he and his bandmates will beat his golden opening of two decades ago.

He says: “Twenty years after playing the Queen’s glorious Golden Jubilee we’re very happy to be invited again. There was a moment when I wondered, after the Buckingham Palace roof, where can you go? Well, you will see!”

Up to 22,000 members of the public, including 10,000 who won tickets in a ballot and 7,500 key workers, will see the concert live on three hi-tech stages built around the Queen Victoria monument at the end of the Mall.

The three stages are linked by walkways to create a 360-degree experience in front of Buckingham Palace and The Queen Victoria Memorial.

Seventy columns — one for each year of the Queen’s reign — will be illuminated to light up Buckingham Palace.

Members of the Royal Family will arrive for the Platinum Party at the Palace concert at 7.40pm. Princes Charles and William will pay tribute to the Queen, who will be watching it on TV at home in Windsor.

Kirsty Young and Roman Kemp present the two-and-a-half hour event on BBC1, iPlayer and Radio 2.

Kirsty will be in St James’s Park, while Roman is backstage with a galaxy of stars.

Motown royalty

Alicia Keys, Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow and George Ezra will share the three stages with Duran Duran, Andrea Bocelli, Mimi Webb, Sam Ryder, Jax Jones, Celeste, Nile Rodgers, Sigala and Diversity.

Stars from stage, screen and sport will appear at the event and on film, including Sir David Attenborough, Emma Raducanu, David Beckham, Stephen Fry, Dame Julie Andrews, The Royal Ballet and British former Paralympian swimmer Ellie Simmonds.

Sir Elton John has recorded a special performance, while Eurovision hero Sam Ryder, fresh from scoring the UK’s remarkable second place in Italy with Space Man, will be live on stage.

The evening will mark the amazing achievements of Her Majesty’s extraordinary reign in fashion, sport, the environment, pop music and musicals.

Eurovision hero Sam Ryder, fresh from scoring the UK’s remarkable second place in Italy with Space Man, will be live on stage

There will be performances from The Phantom of The Opera, Hamilton, Six, The Lion King and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Motown royalty Diana Ross will close the show in her first UK live performance in 15 years.

She says: “I’ve had the honour of meeting The Queen many times throughout my life, including when I was with my family.

“Her Majesty has and continues to be such an incredible inspiration to so many across the world and I was absolutely delighted to receive an invitation to perform on such a momentous and historic occasion.”

And Sir Rod Stewart says: “Queen Elizabeth has given incredible service to the United Kingdom over the last 70 years.

“I’m delighted to be able to join her in celebrating her Platinum Jubilee with the Party At The Palace.

“She has demonstrated to the world what a special person she is and how lucky we are to have her.

“This will be a momentous occasion.”

Long to reign over bus

A LINE-UP of 150 stars from the world of showbiz will be on the buses in the grand finale – Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee pageant.

And more than 10,000 volunteers are taking part in the People’s Parade — an awe-inspiring procession in four acts of floats and performances in the heart of London.

A line-up of 150 stars from the world of showbiz will be on the buses in the grand finale

In the parade are seven buses packed with celebs representing the seven decades of the Queen’s remarkable reign.

A host of national treasures including Only Fools and Horses star David Jason, Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton, film stars Jeremy Irons and Joan Collins and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will be there, too.

And when the mile-long parade ends outside Buckingham Palace, Ed Sheeran is expected to lead the nation in singing God Save The Queen.

A billion people at home and across the world will watch the pageant, while huge crowds are expected to line the route from Parliament Square, along Whitehall and into The Mall. 

Thousands of performers including Scottish bagpipers, dancers from Bristol, Isle of Wight puppeteers and Somerset carnival clubs will come together to honour Her Majesty.

Among the giant hot-air balloons and a colossal oak tree flanked with maypole dancers, will be a fleet of open-top double-decker buses.

Each bus will be wrapped in graphics that create a giant scrapbook of every decade from the 1950s to the present day.

And on the top deck will be a host of stars from each era of the Queen’s reign.

On Sunday look out for:

Fifties: Film actress Hayley Mills and pop legend Cliff Richard lead stars on the bus representing the decade when the Queen came to the throne.

They are joined by actresses Anita Harris and Bonnie Langford, presenter Gloria Hunniford, singers Katherine Jenkins and Lesley Garrett, as well as DJ Paul Gambaccini and ballet star Wayne Sleep.

Sixties: Ex-Radio One DJ Tony Blackburn is master of ceremonies on this bus, joined by former Blue Peter hosts Anthea Turner, Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and Peter Duncan.

TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh, actress Caroline Quentin and presenters Holly Willoughby and Kate Garraway will also be on the top deck.

Ed Sheeran is expected to lead the nation in singing God Save The Queen

Seventies: Corrie star Craig Charles is in charge of the mic with guests including Slade rocker Noddy Holder.

They will be joined by presenters Angela Rippon, Chris Tarrant and Dame Esther Rantzen and soul singer Heather Small.

Children’s favourites John Craven and Johnny Ball will be on deck with comic Lee Mack, actor Patrick Mower, chef Rick Stein, Strictly’s Shirley Ballas and actresses Stephanie Beacham and Helen George.

Eighties: Olympic ice skaters Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean are on the bus helmed by ex-Radio 1 DJ Gary Davies.

They are joined by other Olympics stars of the decade, Daley Thompson, Duncan Goodhew, Sharron Davies and Tessa Sanderson.

Acting’s Anthony Head, Letitia Dean, Simon Callow and Nigel Planer and presenters Eamonn Holmes, Ruth Langsford, Timmy Mallet and Gary Lineker will be there too, along with music mogul Pete Waterman and singer Tony Hadley.

Nineties: Luther star Idris Elba, actress Patsy Kensit and Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor lead the Nineties bus. Also look out for music’s Courtney Love, Neneh Cherry, Nile Rodgers and Vanessa Mae and model Laura Bailey.

Noughties: Hairy bikers Dave Myers and Si King have swapped their motorbikes for a bus.

They’re joined by EastEnders star Brian Conley, Deborah Meaden of Dragon’s Den, TV fashion guru Gok Wan, chef Heston Blumenthal and Olympic dames Katherine Grainger and Kelly Holmes, plus Sir Mo Farah.

Runner Sally Gunnell will be putting her feet up on the top deck with Downton actress Lesley Nicol and money guru Martin Lewis.

Teens: Master of ceremonies Professor Green will rub shoulders with pandemic fitness hero Joe Wicks and his wife, former Page 3 girl Rose Jones and Towie’s Mark Wright.

Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock and snowboarder Katie Ormerod will be on board too, joined by music producer Naughty Boy, new Dragon Steven Bartlett and drag queen The Vivienne representing 2010 to now.

Also look out too for cycling heroes Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Kadeena Cox, Laura Kenny and Lora Turnham.

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And then there will be dames in a fleet of Jaguar motors — Arlene Phillips, Darcey Bussell, Floella Benjamin, Joan Collins, Twiggy, Zandra Rhodes and Prue Leith.

Other stars to keep an eye out for at the pageant include: Bill Bailey, Derek Jacobi, Felicity Kendal, Harry Redknapp, Jimmy Tarbuck, Jools Holland, Seb Coe, Marc Almond, Meera Syal, Michael Buerk, Michael Fish, Miranda Hart, Rachel Riley, Sandie Shaw, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Sheila Hancock and Steve Redgrave.