Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee Is This Weekend: Here's Everything You Need to Know

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Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee this weekend in recognition of her 70-year rule over the United Kingdom and its 14 Commonwealth nations. She will be the first-ever British monarch to reach a seven-decade milestone, after already becoming the country's longest-reigning monarch in 2015. 

On Wednesday, the palace released a new portrait of the queen in honor of her milestone. 

The queen ascended to the throne at age 25 in 1952 following the death of King George VI. She celebrated the 25-year Silver Jubilee in 1977, the 50-year Golden Jubilee in 2002, and the 60-year Diamond Jubilee in 2012. 

Now, the 96-year-old queen and her palace are poised for their platinum party. After a year of events held across the Commonwealth, the U.K. will enjoy a four-day bank holiday from June 2-5.

The weekend is set to be peppered with pageantry -- here's everything you need to know.

Thursday, June 2

The Jubilee may be an anniversary, but it actually begins with a birthday. The Trooping the Colour -- though not actually Elizabeth's birthday -- has been the official marker of the British Sovereign's birthday for over two centuries. 

Trooping of the Colour 2019

Queen Elizabeth II at the 2019 Trooping of the Colour balcony appearance

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Following tradition, the event will feature a parade of thousands of military personnel and several hundred horses that will head through London toward Buckingham Palace. There, Queen Elizabeth joins her family on the balcony to greet the crowd below her. 

Though the balcony appearance typically includes her entire family, the queen announced earlier this month that she would only invite working members of the royal family, notably excluding Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and her disgraced son, Prince Andrew. 

Instead, she will limit the group to Prince Charles and Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Sophie, the Duke of Kent, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Princess Alexandra. William and Kate's children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, are also expected to appear along with Edward and Sophie's kids, Lady Louise and James, Viscount Severn. 

Thursday evening will also mark the lighting of the traditional Jubilee beacons, beginning with a principal beacon at Buckingham Palace. More than 3,000 others will be lit across the U.K. as well. The beacon chains were once used as a tool for communication in the 19th century but have since evolved into a symbol of unity across Great Britain and beyond. They are lit for jubilees, weddings and other royal celebrations.  

A beacon (C) is lit by Queen Elizabeth II amid a fireworks display outside Buckingham Palace in London, on June 4, 2012, to mark the end of the Diamond Jubilee Concert.

Beacon lighting at the 2012 Diamond Jubilee outside Buckingham Palace

Anthony Devlin/AFP via Getty Images

Friday, June 3: 

The full royal family – including Harry and Meghan – is expected to attend Friday's Service of Thanksgiving in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Great Paul, the country’s largest church bell, will be rung for the service. 

Prince George and Princess Charlotte may also be in attendance, but Prince Louis and Meghan and Harry's two children -- Archie and Lilibet -- are most likely too young.

Saturday, June 4:

True to her equestrian passions, the queen will host a horse-running Derby Day at Epsom Downs on Saturday. Her horse, Just Fine, will participate in the penultimate race of the day. 

Queen Elizabeth at the 2021 Royal Ascot

Queen Elizabeth attends the 2021 Royal Ascot

Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Saturday evening will feature a three-stage "Platinum Party at the Palace," streaming on BBC, hosted at Buckingham Palace. Diana Ross, Queen and Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Duran Duran, Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow, George Ezra, Andrea Bocelli, Mimi Webb, Sam Ryder, Jax Jones, Celeste, Nile Rodgers, Sigala and Diversity are all set to make appearances. 

The night doesn't stop there! Sir David Attenborough, Emma Raducanu, David Beckham, Stephen Fry, Dame Julie Andrews, and The Royal Ballet will also attend, and Sir Elton John submitted a specially recorded performance. 

Finally, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lin-Manuel Miranda will make a joint appearance, along with performances featuring guests from The Phantom of the Opera, Hamilton, Six, The Lion King and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Saturday is also the first birthday of Harry and Meghan's daughter, Lilibet. The queen is expected to meet her for the first time this weekend.  

Sunday, June 5: 

After a night of celebration, Prince Charles and Camilla will attend a Big Jubilee Lunch at The Oval in London. According to the royal family, over 60,000 people have registered to host their own Big Jubilee Lunches, and over 10 million people are expected to participate across the Commonwealth. 

"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," the event's website reads. 

Later that day, the weekend's celebrations will conclude with the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, another procession with figures from music, film, sports and the arts that will celebrate highlights from the queen's historic reign. The spectacle will be led by the Gold State Carriage and headlined byEd Sheeran. The day will culminate with a performance of the national anthem and "God Save the Queen."

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