What to expect from Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee year

London (CNN)Grab your party hats and hang up your bunting — the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II are nearly upon us.

No other monarch in British history has achieved 70 years of service.
The Queen, then aged 25, acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI.

    She became the longest-reigning British monarch in 2015, beating the time spent on the throne by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, who ruled for 63 years, seven months.

      In recognition of the landmark occasion, Buckingham Palace is pulling out all the stops. Here’s what you need to know.

      What is happening?

      To celebrate the unprecedented anniversary, a number of events have taken place around the UK this year. It all culminates in a four-day national bank holiday weekend from Thursday, June 2 until Sunday, June 5, known as the Platinum Jubilee Weekend. In the UK, royal celebrations are typically held in the summer to allow for better weather.

        The weekend will feature a variety of public events and community activities, as well as “national moments of reflection” on the Queen’s seven decades as sovereign, according to the palace.

        Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, unseen, ride in the State Gold Coach enroute to St. Paul's Cathedral in London, Tuesday June 4, 2002, for a service of thanksgiving to mark her Golden Jubilee.

        As part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977, a scout hands the Queen, who was visiting Australia, the torch that was used to ignite the Olympic flame in Sydney in 1956. On June 6, she used the flame to light a bonfire beacon at Windsor, which started a chain of beacons across the country to mark the start of celebrations for the 25th anniversary of her accession to the throne.

        Huge crowds line the streets of London to see the royal procession during the Silver Jubilee celebrations on June 7, 1977.

        The Queen is greeted at St. Paul's Cathedral on June 7, 1977, for a thanksgiving service to mark her 25 years on the throne. She is followed by her husband, Prince Philip, and eldest child, Prince Charles.

        Flag-waving crowds greet the Queen as she walks to the Guildhall for lunch, following the Silver Jubilee thanksgiving service. She is accompanied by then-Lord Mayor of London Robin Gillett.

        After the service, the Queen and members of the royal family go to a celebratory Commonwealth lunch at the Guildhall. Among those seated at the top table are her four children, as well as her mother and sister, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. She says in a speech: "My Lord Mayor, when I was 21 I pledged my life to the service of our people and I asked for God's help to make good that vow. Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgment, I do not regret nor retract one word of it."

        Parties are held in streets and villages up and down the country to commemorate the Silver Jubilee. There are 4,000 such events in London alone, according to the official royal <a href="https://www.royal.uk/queens-jubilees-and-other-milestones" target="_blank">website</a>.

        The Queen made several Buckingham Palace balcony appearances during her Silver Jubilee celebrations. As she waves to the crowds on June 7, 1977, she is joined by (left to right) Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, Earl Mountbatten, Prince Philip, Captain Mark Phillips and his then-wife, Princess Anne.

        Children toast to the sovereign at a street party in Liverpool in 1977 to mark the Queen's 25-year reign.

        The Queen enjoys a laugh with two young well-wishers at St. Katherine's Dock, London during the final Silver Jubilee event -- a trip down the Thames river on June 9, 1977.

        The Queen is welcomed at St. Katharine's Dock near the Tower of London during her Silver Jubilee.

        A sharply dressed man in morning suit rests his top hat on his lap as he reads the program for the Silver Jubilee Trooping the Colour ceremony.

        The traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony is a spectacular display of officers from the Queen's personal troops -- the Household Division -- each year in June. In other years, it honors the official birthday of the sovereign.

        Craig Metcalf and Jayne Wood, both from Brighouse, Yorkshire, join thousands of others in the grounds of Buckingham Palace in London for the Prom at the Palace, a classical concert, on the first evening of the Golden Jubilee celebratory weekend in 2002.

        Romanian soprano Angela Gheorghiu performs on a stage at the Golden Jubilee concert. Twelve thousand tickets were allocated by ballot for the event, which also featured New Zealand soprano Kiri Te Kanawa.

        Residents of Melbourne Road, Wimbledon, in southwest London sit at a long Union Jack-bedecked table, enjoying food, drink and conversation during their 2002 Golden Jubilee street party.

        Buckingham Palace is emblazoned with images of the Union Jack flag while fireworks light up the sky after the concert.

        The Queen and Prince Philip watch the impressive fireworks display.

        Huge crowds flood both sides of the Mall in central London to see the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh travel to St. Paul's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving to celebrate the Golden Jubilee, on June 4, 2002.

        Royal-watchers young and old gather to catch a glimpse of the royal couple in the horse-drawn Gold State Coach, which was built in 1762.

        The Queen is joined by family members at the thanksgiving service, including (second row, left to right) Princess Beatrice, Prince Harry, Prince William and Prince Charles.

        Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, delivers a speech praising the Queen's commitment to others and describes the "huge affection" in which the nation holds her during a celebratory lunch at the Guildhall on June 4, 2002.

        One million people gather along the Mall for the finale of the Golden Jubilee celebrations -- a <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2002/WORLD/europe/06/04/uk.jubilee/index.html" target="_blank">fly-past</a> over Buckingham Palace. Concorde, Tornado fighters and a new Eurofighter combat plane were among the 27 aircraft to soar over the royal residence.

        The Diamond Jubilee weekend -- marking the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession to the throne -- opens with a trip to the races. A lifelong horse lover, the Queen was joined by Prince Philip at Epsom Derby in Epsom, southern England, on Saturday, June 2, 2012, where they viewed the horses from the parade ring.

        Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall attend the "Big Jubilee Lunch" in central London ahead of the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant on June 3, 2012. This was only the second time in British history that a monarch celebrated a Diamond Jubilee -- the first being Queen Victoria.

        Royal fans flocked to the Thames river on June 3, 2012, to catch a glimpse of the Queen aboard a ceremonial barge at the center of a 1,000-boat pageant to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

        Hundreds of rowing boats, barges and steamers filled the Thames in a colorful tribute to the Queen.

        The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on board the "Spirit of Chartwell" royal barge during the Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the Thames. The couple are accompanied by family members including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Sussex, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

        Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Prince Harry wave as they pass the Houses of Parliament aboard the royal barge.

        Balconies of apartment blocks along the Thames are packed with royal-watchers.

        Music-lovers prepare for the Queen's jubilee concert outside Buckingham Palace in London, on June 4, 2012.  Following the concert, a chain of thousands of beacons were lit to mark the Queen's 60-year reign.

        Fireworks light up the palace during a star-studded Diamond Jubilee concert organized by Take That singer and songwriter Gary Barlow. The Queen made a regal appearance but without Prince Philip, who <del> </del>was <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/09/world/europe/uk-prince-philip/index.html" target="_blank">hospitalized</a> just hours earlier.

        Paul McCartney and Cheryl Cole were among the stars to share a stage with the Queen during the Diamond Jubilee Concert, where Prince Charles greeted his mother with a kiss on the hand.

        Accompanied by the Dean of St. Paul's, David Ison, the Queen views an inscription at the foot of the steps of the cathedral commemorating Queen Victoria's 60th anniversary on the throne.

        The Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess and Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, leave Westminster Hall following the Diamond Jubilee Lunch in 2012.

        The Mall is awash with red, white and blue as revelers pack in to watch the royal family take to the Buckingham Palace balcony.

        The Windsors gather on the Buckingham Palace balcony without Prince Philip, who was hospitalized for an infection a day earlier.

        The upcoming celebrations will be the Queen’s first jubilee without her husband, Prince Philip, who died in 2021.
        Several jubilees have punctuated the Queen’s reign since her accession to the throne in 1952: the Silver Jubilee, marking 25 years in 1977; the Golden Jubilee celebrations for 50 years in 2002; and the Diamond Jubilee commemorations a decade ago for her 60th anniversary.
        The monarch opted to mark other anniversaries, like her Ruby Jubilee (40 years in 1992) and Sapphire Jubilee (65 years in 2017), with less fanfare and without public events.
        The Queen’s private estates — including Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle — are also joining in with jubilee themed events.

        What events are planned?

        Thursday, June 2
        The festivities kick off from 10 a.m. BST (5 a.m. ET) with the Queen’s birthday parade, known as Trooping the Colour. The annual ceremony is returning to central London after a two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
        In an impressive display of military pageantry, more than 1,200 officers from the Queen’s personal troops, the Household Division, will be joined by several hundred Army musicians and 240 horses. The “colour” — or regimental flag — will be trooped by the 1st Battalion, Irish Guards. The procession will start at Buckingham Palace and move down The Mall to Horse Guard’s Parade, joined by members of the royal family on horseback and in carriages.

        Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England.
        Upon returning from the parade ground, the Queen and members of the royal family will make their customary balcony appearance. The event will close with a fly-past over the palace.
        Later, 1,500 beacons will be set alight across the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and in UK Overseas Territories. The principal beacon will be lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace. The lighting of beacons is a long running royal tradition used to mark jubilees, weddings and coronations. Beacons will also be lit in the capital cities of Commonwealth countries.
        Friday, June 3
        A thanksgiving service paying tribute to the Queen’s lengthy reign will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral with family members in attendance.
        Saturday, June 4
        Several royal family members are expected to head to Epsom Downs racecourse in the afternoon for the 243rd edition of its famous horse race, the Derby. The Queen, a keen horse breeder herself, has been a regular spectator at the event and has even presented the famous trophy in years gone by.
        In the evening, a two-and-a-half hour “Platinum Party At The Palace” concert will see a star-studded line up take to three stages built in front of Buckingham Palace and the famous Queen Victoria Memorial. Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys and Diana Ross are among the artists set to perform their biggest hits at the show, which will be broadcast live by the BBC. Some 22,000 people will get to watch the concert in person, including 10,000 who won tickets through a public ballot; 5,000 tickets were reserved for key workers.

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        Sunday, June 5
        To cap the celebrations, on Sunday, people are being encouraged to organize street parties as part of the “Big Jubilee Lunch” initiative. Community gatherings are set to take place across Britain, including flagship events in London and at Cornwall’s Eden Project — where the idea for the lunches originated. “Big Jubilee Lunches” have also been planned around the world, from Canada to Brazil to South Africa and Japan.
        The weekend’s finale is the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, in which artistic performers, dancers, musicians, military personnel, key workers and volunteers will unite to bring iconic moments from the Queen’s reign to life in a festival of creativity. Starting at 2:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. ET), the pageant will involve a “River of Hope” section that will comprise 200 silk flags parading down The Mall like a river. School children have been invited to create a picture of their hopes and aspirations for the planet over the next 70 years, a selection of which will be shown on the silk flags.

        When will we see the Queen?

        It’s still not exactly clear when we’ll see the Queen over the weekend.
        The 96-year-old monarch has struggled with mobility issues recently and has been forced to withdraw from several public appearances, including the State Opening of Parliament in May.
        She’ll continue to play it safe for the jubilee and hasn’t confirmed whether she’ll be present at the various festivities.
        A royal source recently told CNN that Her Majesty is “looking forward” to the revelry and plans to take part in the celebrations, but “her presence will not be confirmed until much nearer the time or on the day itself.”

        Which other royals are joining in the celebrations?

        Most senior royals are expected to attend a few of the jubilee weekend events in central London. Some will also deploy to all four UK nations during the four-day extravaganza, with the Queen sending the Cambridges to Wales, the Earl and Countess of Wessex to Northern Ireland and Princess Anne to Scotland.
        And after much speculation, it has also been confirmed that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and their children, will be flying back to the UK for the celebrations.

        The British royal family wave to crowds from Buckingham Palace during Diamond Jubilee commemorations in 2012.
        The Queen has decided that only royals carrying out official duties will make an appearance on the famous Buckingham Palace balcony during the Trooping the Colour parade on Thursday. So we are expecting to see the Queen alongside three of her children — Charles, Edward and Anne — as well as Prince William and Kate and their children, and a number of the monarch’s other relatives.

          This doesn’t mean Harry, Meghan or Andrew won’t be involved in the celebrations at all. The wider family is traditionally invited to church services, like the one set for St. Paul’s Cathedral on the Friday.
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