It might be more than 18 months to wait, but the nation is set to be treated with an extra day off to mark the Queen reaching 70 years on the throne.
As part of what is being billed as a “blockbuster” celebration for Her Majesty’s platinum jubilee in 2022, people will enjoy a UK-wide four-day weekend in recognition of the first time that a British monarch reaches the milestone.
The May bank holiday weekend is being shifted to the start of June and an additional day is being added to the bank holiday calendar, allowing four days of events that the government promises will “mix the best of British ceremonial splendour and pageantry with cutting edge artistic and technological displays”.
Following a tradition stretching back to the reign of Queen Victoria – when an official medal was designed to mark her 50th anniversary on the throne – a platinum jubilee medal will be awarded to people working in public service, such as armed forces personnel and those in the emergency services.
Celebrations will recognise the 94-year-old monarch’s impact over the course of her historic reign, which has featured 14 prime ministers since she took the throne aged only 25 in 1952.
Although the exact plans for the platinum jubilee are being kept under wraps for now – with events likely dependent on success of taming the Covid-19 pandemic – the Queen’s golden jubilee in 2002 was marked with a concert at Buckingham Palace, dubbed “party at the palace”. Performances included the rock band Queen’s Brian May playing God Save the Queen on his guitar on the palace roof.
Giving a hint of what more to expect this time, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport – which is organising the celebrations alongside the royal household – said “spectacular moments” in the capital and other major cities will be complemented by community events across the UK and the Commonwealth. The holiday will run for four days from Thursday 2 June 2022, with further details due to be released in the coming months.
The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “Her Majesty’s platinum jubilee will be a truly historic moment – and one that deserves a celebration to remember. We can all look forward to a special, four-day Jubilee weekend, when we will put on a spectacular, once-in-a-generation show that mixes the best of British ceremonial splendour with cutting edge art and technology. It will bring the entire nation and the Commonwealth together in a fitting tribute to Her Majesty’s reign.”
A palace spokesman added: “The platinum jubilee offers an opportunity for the Queen to express her thanks for the support and loyalty Her Majesty has received throughout her reign. The Queen hopes that as many people as possible will have the opportunity to join the celebrations.”