Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee: Everything to Know About the Historic Royal Celebration

From parades to a performance by Diana Ross from Buckingham Palace, the world is raising a toast to the Queen this week

It's an event 70 years in the making: Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee.

From June 2 to June 5, the 96-year-old Queen will be feted with parades, a concert at the palace and other celebrations to honor her historic reign. Queen Elizabeth, who became monarch in 1952, has surpassed Queen Victoria to claim the title of the U.K.'s longest-reigning monarch and the first U.K. monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee — and that deserves a toast!

Here's everything to expect this week as the royal family and the Commonwealth comes together to honor Her Majesty.

Thursday, June 2: Trooping the Colour

The Jubilee celebrations will kick off with Trooping the Colour, the annual public celebration of Queen Elizabeth's birthday. More than 1,500 military personnel and 350 horses will participate in a spectacular parade through London, highlighted by members of the royal family. While most will ride in horse-drawn carriages, Prince Charles, Prince William and Princess Anne will take part in the event on horseback.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth. Joe Giddens/WPA Pool/Getty

After arriving at Buckingham Palace, the royal family gathers on the palace's balcony to watch a flypast by the Royal Air Force. Although extended members of the family traditionally fill the balcony, the Queen previously announced that only working members will participate this year. This excludes Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who are traveling to the U.K. from their California home for the weekend after stepping back from their royal roles in 2020, as well as the Queen's son Prince Andrew, who is no longer a working royal following his association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

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The family members who will appear on the palace balcony during Trooping the Colour will be the Queen, Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex. The Queen's cousins, the Duke of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra will also be in attendance.

William and Kate's children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, are expected to be there along with Edward and Sophie's kids, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn. Princess Anne's husband Sir Tim Laurence may also appear as he's a frequent supporter of his wife during her public duties.

British Royal family
Trooping the Colour. Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty

Thursday, June 2: Platinum Jubilee Beacons

The U.K. has a long tradition of lighting beacons to mark royal jubilees, weddings and coronations — and that will continue for Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee on Thursday night.

The Principal beacon, involving 70 ft. tall Tree of Trees, will be lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace at 9 p.m. In addition, more than 3,000 beacons will be set ablaze across the U.K. and the Commonwealth as a tribute to the monarch, at sites including the Tower of London, Windsor Great Park, Hillsborough Castle and the Queen's estates of Sandringham and Balmoral.

Queen's Green Canopy (QGC) Tree of Trees
Tree of Trees. Alamy Stock Photo

Friday, June 3: Service of Thanksgiving

Many members of the royal family will gather for a Service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral.

While the Trooping the Colour balcony appearance was limited to working royals, extended members of the family are expected to attend Friday's ceremony, including Meghan and Prince Harry. Prince Andrew is also set to join.

Some of the Queen's older great-grandchildren, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte, may also attend the Friday ceremony, although Meghan and Harry's two children — Archie Harrison, 3, and Lilibet Diana, who will turn 1 on June 4 — are believed to be too young for the outing.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex pose at the IGF Reception during day two of the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 at Zuiderpark on April 17, 2022 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Chris Jackson/Getty

Saturday, June 4: The Derby at Epsom Downs

On top of the Jubilee events, Saturday also marks Meghan and Prince Harry's daughter Lili's first birthday!

Queen Elizabeth is known for her love of horses, so it's no surprise that a racing event is part of the Platinum Jubilee itinerary. Fans will see members of the royal family will get dressed up in their race day best for the event. On Monday, it was announced that Queen Elizabeth will have a horse running at Derby Day at Epsom Downs. Her horse Just Fine has been entered in the penultimate race of the day.

Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Elizabeth II. Chris Jackson/Getty

Saturday, June 4: Platinum Party at the Palace

Diana Ross, Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys and Duran Duran are just some of the musicians set to perform at the BBC's "Platinum Party At The Palace" concert from Buckingham Palace.

The three-stage setup will also see performances from Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow, George Ezra, Andrea Bocelli, Mimi Webb, Sam Ryder, Jax Jones, Celeste, Nile Rodgers, Sigala and Diversity.

Appearances will also be made by Sir David Attenborough, Emma Raducanu, David Beckham, Stephen Fry, Dame Julie Andrews, The Royal Ballet and a specially recorded performance from Sir Elton John.

The Queen's love of show tunes will also be represented by special appearances from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lin-Manuel Miranda — plus performances featuring casts and special guests from The Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, Six, The Lion King and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

queen elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth. Paul Grover - Pool / Getty

Sunday, June 5: The Big Jubilee Lunch

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall will attend a Big Jubilee Lunch at The Oval in London on Sunday. Similar events will take place around the U.K.

"Whether it's sharing a cuppa with a neighbour on the doorstep or a bigger bash in the street, join millions of people across the UK to share friendship, food and fun with The Big Jubilee Lunch," according to the event's website. "It's the party that's right up your street, and everyone's invited, so let's take to our streets, gardens and neighbourhoods to have fun and get to know one another a little better."

Sunday, June 5: The Platinum Jubilee Pageant

The long weekend will wrap with the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, a procession through the streets of London that will showcase iconic moments from the Queen's reign as well as highlight how society has changed over the past 70 years.

Around 10,000 people are involved in the pageant, including 2,750 military personnel, more than 6,000 volunteers, performers, key workers and 2,500 members of the general public.

The parade will be led by the Gold State Carriage and culminate with a performance by Ed Sheeran. Highlights will also include an aerial artist, a giant oak tree flanked with maypole dancers, a huge moving wedding cake sounding out Bollywood hits, a towering dragon and three-story-high beasts.

Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London during a visit to mark the completion of London's Crossrail project
Queen Elizabeth. Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

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In addition to the events in London, senior members of the royal family will also embark on visits to other areas of the U.K. over the weekend. Prince William and Kate will head to Wales, where they lived for a few years when they were first married more than a decade ago, while Princess Anne will travel to Scotland and Prince Edward and Sophie, The Countess of Wessex, will go to Northern Ireland.

"Over the course of the Central Weekend, Members of the Royal Family will visit the Nations of the United Kingdom to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee. Members of the Royal Family will attend engagements in each nation, including public events marking the occasion," the palace announced in a statement.

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