The year 2016 celebrates Her Majesty, The Queen as Britain’s longest reigning monarch and on 21 April she will turn 90 years old. There will be a number of events to celebrate these remarkable milestones.
The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration, will be held in the private grounds of Windsor Castle (12 – 15 May); the town of Windsor is reached in 30 minutes by train from London.
Queen Elizabeth II’s 90 years will be celebrated in 90 minutes of music, dance, song and equestrianism, involving more than 1,500 participants and 900 horses. Although tickets have already sold out there are still a few ways you can be part of this once-in-a-lifetime spectacular – visit www.hmq90.co.uk for the chance to enter a ballot for one of the 5,000 complimentary tickets to view the event on large screens on Windsor Great Park’s Long Walk. This live screening of the last day of the celebration will have performances by some of the bands. The ballot goes live in February.
Fashioning a Reign: 90 Years of Style from The Queen’s Wardrobe will celebrate the Queen’s reign through three exhibitions of more than 150 of her outfits. The exhibitions will be staged at Her Majesty’s official residences, with each collection carefully selected for its particular association with the place.
The Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh will highlight the use of tartan in royal dress (21 April – October). London’s Buckingham Palace will cover fashions from the 1920s to the 2010s with outfits representing the Queen’s childhood, wedding, coronation, royal tours and state visits (August – September), while Windsor Castle will contrast the Queen’s magnificent evening gowns with the fancy dress costumes she wore for wartime family pantomimes (September 2016 – January 2017).
For more information: www.royalcollection.org.uk
The Queen’s official birthday weekend in June will be another highlight. As usual, the Queen will attend a service of Thanksgiving at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral (10 June), and the traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony will be on 11 June. To get your hands on tickets (£30) for Trooping the Colour, apply in writing in February. Alternatively, there are two rehearsal events – The Major General’s Review (free; 28 May) and The Colonel’s Review (£10; 4 June) – or you can join the flag-waving crowds lining the procession’s route from Buckingham Palace along The Mall and Horseguards.
For more information: www.householddivision.org.uk/trooping-the-colour
The climax of the official birthday weekend will be a host of classic British street parties across the country on 12 June. The biggest one, and the first of its kind, The Patron’s Lunch, will be on The Mall in London. Most of the 10,000 tickets for this have already been allocated, but the remaining tickets will be made available by public ballot in March (£150; www.thepatronslunch.com). Otherwise, pack a picnic and head to one of the live sites in Green Park and St James’s Park and watch proceedings from big screens. Expect a festival atmosphere!
In Edinburgh, The Royal Yacht Britannia will throw two parties fit for a queen. On 21 April and 12 June there will be complimentary birthday cake, Britannia fizz and music from the Musical Mariners on board the yacht, which was, according to the Queen, “the one place I could truly relax”.
For more information : www.royalyachtbritannia.co.uk
Images: Windsor Castle – VisitBritain
Royal Yacht Britannia: Marc Millar