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The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations began on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

A special Bank Holiday in the UK was declared months ago, and Britons have a public holiday on June 2 and June 3, taking us into a very special weekend.

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee is an historic first. Never before has a British monarch celebrated a 70 year reign:

This is her message of thanks to the people of the UK and the Commonwealth countries:

June 2 is also the 69th anniversary of Elizabeth II’s coronation. The weather right now has been very similar to that time in 1953: cool and rainy.

Below is the chair in which 26 British monarchs have been crowned. It is kept in Westminster Abbey. Although it looks quite worn — and, yes, there is schoolboy graffiti on it — on Coronation Day it is covered with expensive fabric and cushions to look regal:

The Queen’s coronation needed a year to arrange, so it could not have taken place in 1952, when she suddenly acceded the throne following her father’s — George VI’s — sudden death that year.

This three-minute video has clips of the coronation ceremony, held on a cold, rainy June day at Westminster Abbey, during which participating adults and children alike were in great discomfort from the chill, even if it doesn’t look like it:

Today’s — Thursday’s — big event was Trooping the Colour.

Trooping the Colour celebrates the monarch’s birthday. It used to be held on the actual date of birth. Edward VII’s was in November, when the weather is cold and damp. Therefore, he had the date changed to June. Since his time, the monarch has two birthdays, so to speak: the actual one and the official one, marked by Trooping the Colour.

This year, it is two weeks early to tie in with the Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrations.

Because of her mobility issues, the Queen was not at Horse Guards Parade for this auspicious anniversary. Instead, she appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to acknowledge those from the military who took part.

Gun salutes and a Royal Air Force flypast also took place:

Returning to Trooping the Colour, because of coronavirus restrictions, the military parade took place at Windsor Castle. This year is the first time in three years that it has been at Horse Guards Parade, so additional preparation was needed to make sure that everything was perfect.

This video gives a short insight on Trooping the Colour and the work that goes into making the Queen’s official birthday a special one:

Here is a quiz question on the Irish Guards:

This is the Irish Guards’ mascot, Seamus:

Horses are also an integral part of Trooping the Colour. They are groomed more than usual. Their many brasses must be perfectly polished, too:

Many hours of rehearsal are involved. The 251 Signal Squadron makes sure that everything happens when it should. It makes one wonder how they survived without radios decades ago. The parade must have been that much more onerous. The Queen would have known what was poorly timed:

Trooping the Colour dates back to the mid-18th century. The following photos show the Queen — then Princess Elizabeth — as well as other members of her family over the past century:

When the Queen actively participated in her Birthday Parade, she wore a modified military uniform. She served as an Army mechanic during the Second World War:

Although the Queen was at Buckingham Palace this year, members of the Royal Family attended, with Princes Charles and William and Princess Anne taking the salutes as the military passed by:

This was the scene at the Mall early on Thursday morning:

People were told that public viewing areas were at full capacity and to make other arrangements:

A Telegraph associate editor tweeted that onlookers gathered early in the morning:

The Mall was full by 9 a.m., 90 minutes before Trooping the Colour began:

Those fortunate enough to watch proceedings from Horse Guards itself dressed to the nines:

Meanwhile, back at Buckingham Palace, the Queen’s great-grandchildren looked forward to a splendid day:

Shortly before the Birthday Parade took place, the Royals set off for a horse-drawn carriage journey down The Mall to Horse Guards:

They waved to those lining The Mall …

… some of whom enjoyed Champagne and a song or two:

The Royal children were thrilled:

The Telegraph reported:

Prince George is clearly having the time of his life as he experiences his first Jubilee, writes Gordon Rayner.  

As his carriage drove down the Mall, George, sitting with his siblings opposite his mother the Duchess of Cambridge, said: “Wow. This is GREAT!”

The Duchess said to her children: “This is wonderful! look at all these people!”

Princess Charlotte also said “wow” as she saw the crowds, and as the carriage reached Horseguards Parade Prince George asked the Duchess: “Mama, where does this stop?”

They watched the parade from a balcony (see circled area):

Afterwards, everyone returned to the balcony at Buckingham Palace to await the 82-gun salute and the RAF flypast:

When the Queen appeared, the crowds erupted with joy:

The Royal Navy and the Royal Marines will be participating in the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday at Buckingham Palace:

Meanwhile, in news across the English Channel, Trooping the Colour was the main story this morning in France, at least on their talk radio station RMC.

And Emmanuel Macron sent in warm words of praise for the Queen:

He gave her a thoroughbred gelding named Fabulous — Fabuleux de Maucourt — to mark the happy occasion of her Platinum Jubilee:

Friday’s big event is a service of thanksgiving for the monarch’s reign at St Paul’s Cathedral.

On Saturday, the younger Royals will travel around the country to participate in various events.

Meanwhile, towns, cities and villages up and down the country will hold local events, including street parties, throughout the weekend. While the weather might be good today, Sunday’s is forecast to be very much like that of Coronation Day in 1953.

Although Queen Elizabeth II was born in April, the Monarch’s official birthday is celebrated in June with the Trooping of the Colour.

I remember reading some years ago that the date in June began with Edward VII, who was born in November.  The weather here was too inclement for him for public celebrations in late autumn, so he transferred it to the present time, although it did not appear to be an annual event.

On May 22, 2011, Cranmer recommended a video on the Monarchy made by an American, C G P Grey, who is married to an Englishwoman and has now lived here for several years. Each has their own business.

The video explores the Royal Family’s  contribution to Great Britain and explains why they cost the taxpayer ‘about 65 pence’ per person per year. The 2010 figure is 62 pence. (Around 10 years ago, I remember reading that this amount was 63 pence. In 2009 it went up to 69 pence.)

So, the Queen is careful to keep the cost to her subjects to a minimum.  Mr Grey explains in rapid-fire narration that the British would have even more of a tax burden were it not for the contribution to the Treasury from Crown lands:

You might find it easier to read through his script for the video on his blog, highlights of which follow:

The story starts with this guy: King George the third, most well known as the monarch who lost the United States for the Empire …

King George was having trouble paying his bills and had racked up debt.

While he did own huge tracts of land, the profit from their rental was too small to cover his expenses.

He offered a deal to parliament: for the rest of his life he would surrender the profits from the rents on his land in exchange for getting a fixed annual salary and having his debts removed.

Parliament took him up on the deal, guessing that the profits from the rents would pay off long-term.

Just how well did parliament do? Back to the present let’s compare their profits and losses by using a tenner to represent 10 million pounds.

The cost to maintain the royal family today is 40 million pounds per year.

But the revenue paid to the UK from the royal lands is 200 million.

200 million in revenue subtract 40 million in salary costs equals 160 million pounds in profit.

That’s right: The United Kingdom earns 160 million pounds in profit, every year from the Royal Family.

So stop all your moaning about the Royal family and how much they cost and how worthless they are. The Royal Family is Great for Great Britain.

Doing the individual’s math[s] again:

160 million pounds divided by 62 million people is about 2 pounds and 60 pence.

Because of the Royal Family, your taxes are actually 2 pounds and 60 pence cheaper each year than they would otherwise be …

… every Monarch since King George the third has voluntarily turned over the profits from their land to the United Kingdom. Again: Voluntarily.

Cranmer and his readers enjoyed the film, and so did I.  Our only quibble — and Mr Grey apologises in the comments — is that he used a photo of Mont St Michel in France instead of St Michael’s Mount!  That aside, it’s really good.  Therefore, it was disappointing to see nearly 150 comments, mostly hostile towards what he says.  Unbelievable.  What he states is true.  Anyone who reads the news regularly will know the cost of the Royal Family to the taxpayer.  I read it every year in the London Evening Standard (old format).

My American readers might enjoy his studies of the locations of state capitals.

Anyway, back to the Queen and her official birthday celebrations which will take place this year on Saturday, June 11.  The history of Trooping the Colour goes back to Charles II — restored to the throne in 1660 after Cromwell’s Interregnum:

the Colours of a regiment were used as a rallying point in battle and were therefore trooped in front of the soldiers every day to make sure that every man could recognise those of his own regiment. In London, the Foot Guards used to do this as part of their daily Guard Mounting on Horse Guards and the ceremonial of the modern Trooping the Colour parade is along similar lines. The first traceable mention of The Sovereign’s Birthday being ‘kept’ by the Grenadier Guards is in 1748 and again, after George III became King in 1760, it was ordered that parades should mark the King’s Birthday. From the accesssion of George IV they became, with a few exceptions and notably the two World Wars, an annual event.

Trooping the Colour is televised every year.  If you’ve never seen it, it’s a magnificent ceremony.  The site above has a video which gives an overview.

Wikipedia also describes the order of events:

It is held in London annually on the second Saturday in June[2] on Horse Guards Parade by St. James’s Park, and coincides with the publication of the Birthday Honours List. Among the audience are the Royal Family, invited guests, ticketholders, and the general public. The colourful ceremony, also known as “The Queen’s Birthday Parade”, is broadcast live by the BBC.

The Queen travels down The Mall from Buckingham Palace in a Royal Procession with a Sovereign’s Escort of Household Cavalry (also known as “Mounted Troops” or “Horse Guards”). After receiving a Royal Salute, she inspects her troops of the Household Division, both Foot Guards and Horse Guards. The King’s Troop are also in attendance. Each year, one of the Foot Guards regiments is selected to troop their colour through the ranks of guards. Then the entire assembly of Household Division conducts a March Past around the Parade past the Queen, who receives their salute from the Saluting Base. (The Mounted Troops perform a Walk March and a Trot Past, and the King’s Troop rank by with their guns, which are their colour.)

The music is provided by the Massed Bands of the Foot Guards and the Mounted Bands of the Household Cavalry, together with a Corps of Drums and occasionally pipers, totalling approximately 400 musicians.

On return to Buckingham Palace, the Queen watches a further march past from outside the gates. Following a 41-gun salute by the King’s Troop in Green Park, she leads the Royal Family onto the palace balcony for a Royal Air Force flypast.

In 2012, the Queen will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee.  Britons will enjoy a four-day bank holiday weekend to mark this historic event:

Marking 60 years on the throne, Her Majesty will begin the June celebrations by attending the Epsom Derby on Saturday, June 2 2012.

The Jubilee celebrations throughout the UK and across Commonwealth will culminate in a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and a formal carriage procession by the Queen on Tuesday, June 5.

June 5 is a one-off extra Bank Holiday announced by the Government in January this year.

The programme of events, issued by the Press Secretary to the Queen, follows an announcement earlier this year that a 7.5 mile long Diamond Jubilee Thames river pageant consisting of up to 1,000 boats would be central to celebrations …

Thousands of members of the public will be able to take part in the Sunday, June 3 pageant by boarding passenger boats taking part.

On the same day the Queen will encourage people across the country to take part in street parties or picnic lunches in small or large groups in what is being described as a “few hours of community, friendship and fun” …

Bank Holiday Monday’s events begin with a televised Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace featuring British and Commonwealth musicians.

Tickets will be made available to UK residents through a public ballot.

In the evening a network of beacons numbering 2,012 will be lit by communities and individuals across the country.

I have fond memories of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002 — a great weekend of fun and beautiful weather.

Britain’s constitutional monarchy is the right form of government for us.  As we saw at the end of April, the Royal Family is, in many respects, a social glue that binds the country together and helps to identify us to the rest of the world.  It’s also important that the Monarch hold onto Crown lands.  The last thing I would wish to see is for our nation to be beholden to a foreign power.  Yes, it could potentially happen.

God save the Queen! Many happy returns, Ma’am!

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