By Danica Kirka | Associated press
LONDON — During a long weekend of royal pageantry dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign, the British people will take center stage in at least one event.
More than 10,000 performers, including schoolchildren, community groups and military bands, expect to descend on Buckingham Palace on June 5 to cap off four days of celebrations marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
The event on The Mall, the tree-lined road to the palace, will feature pop star Ed Sheeran, dancers, acrobats, vintage cars and performances of the Queen’s favorite corgis and horses in performances highlighting the changes in British society during Elizabeth’s long time. reign.
“It will be about how, through the memories, stories and experiences we share, we can see how we are all connected through time to each other and to the Queen,” the director said on Tuesday. of the show, David Zolkwer.
Elizabeth, the oldest monarch in British history, came to the throne at the age of 25. Over the next seven decades, the UK lived through the end of its empire, the Cold War, the economic tensions of the 1980s and the challenges of an increasingly multicultural society.
Now 96, the Queen who has been a constant presence through it all remains a beacon of stability.
The Jubilee Pageant seeks to celebrate this legacy with a spectacle that will begin with the ringing of the bells of Westminster Abbey, just like on Elizabeth’s coronation day.
The first of four “acts” will be a parade featuring military bands and service personnel from the UK and Commonwealth countries including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Pakistan, Ghana, Belize, Jamaica and Sri Lanka.
Some 2,500 volunteers are expected to take part in the second act, which will be dedicated to creativity, dance, fashion and music during the Queen’s reign.
This part of the program will also feature 150 ‘national treasures’ who have shaped British culture over the past 70 years, including singer Cliff Richard, chef Heston Blumenthal and figure skating gold medalists Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean .
The third section will celebrate the Queen’s reign and her personal interests with quirky British humour. Acts include a 20-foot-tall puppet of a young woman, surrounded by a group of mischievous corgi puppets.
The event will end outside Buckingham Palace, where Sheeran will perform and the public will be invited to join in the chanting of “God Save the Queen”.
Organizers declined to say whether or not the monarch could be persuaded to appear on the palace balcony.
The UK celebrates the Queen’s Jubilee June 2-5.