ondoners are set to “light up” the city for the Platinum Jubilee as they unite to celebrate the Queen’s “outstanding reign and service”, Boris Johnson said on Monday.
Visitors from around the globe will flock to the capital to pay tribute to her unprecedented 70 years as Britain’s head of state, he added.
As people across the capital were preparing for a bonanza of bunting-strewn street parties, the Prime Minister wrote in the Standard: “With the first Platinum Jubilee ever, no monarch has served the country so long and, more importantly, no monarch has ever served it so well.
“Over the coming days, this city will light up and celebrate the national unity and pride that connects us all, showcasing the best of British, embodied by Her Majesty the Queen herself. With every concert and every street party, may we all rejoice in celebrating the love, devotion and leadership that has made her well and truly Elizabeth the Great.”
The Queen, the nation’s longest-reigning monarch, is expected to make a double appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony — at the start of the celebrations after Trooping the Colour on Thursday, and after the Pageant parade finale on Sunday. Her Majesty, 96, is also hoping to be able attend the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, with her wider family including, it is expected, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the Duke of York.
The Queen, who has been on a pre-jubilee break resting in Balmoral has been facing episodic mobility problems in recent months. This led her to miss a number of major events this year, including the State Opening of Parliament.
Millions of people in the UK will be hoping she feels able to take part in as much of the celebrations as possible in the capital. “As the birthplace and residence of Her Majesty the Queen, London is a city she has grown to cherish, and here, like in communities up and down the United Kingdom, we look forward to the glorious events taking place this week,” said Mr Johnson ahead of the four-day bank holiday weekend.
“With the Trooping the Colour, thanksgiving ceremonies, street pageants, concerts and street parties planned, now is the time for us all to come together and celebrate her outstanding reign and service to our country. No monarch by her efforts and dedication and achievement better deserves the attribute of greatness.”
He added: “Here in London, we will celebrate together the leadership this remarkable woman has shown. She has led this country through good times and bad, inspiring people to serve others and their communities to create the pride and allegiance that unites us all.
“People will come to London from across the globe to see the sights and spectacles we have to offer, rejoicing in what is truly a remarkable occasion.”
At the BBC’s Party At The Palace concert in front of Buckingham Palace on Saturday night, both the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge are said to be preparing to pay public tribute to the Queen during the star-studded event, which features acts including Diana Ross, Duran Duran and George Ezra. The Queen is not expected to be there, and will watch on television instead from Windsor Castle.
On Sunday, thousands will gather across the country as more than 85,000 Big Jubilee Lunches and street parties are staged in celebration of the Queen’s 70-year reign.
The Met Office is predicting sunny blue skies and dry weather on Saturday with temperatures hitting 20C. But those picnicking and taking part in the spectacular Pageant parade through central London on Sunday could face more unsettled weather, with a cloudier, chillier day and some risk of showers. Nearly 200 celebrities will take to the stage to serenade the Queen by singing the national anthem at the grand finale of the festivities on Sunday.
Stars including Sir Cliff Richard, Sir David Jason, Harry Redknapp, Sandie Shaw, Felicity Kendal, Joe Wicks and Holly Willoughby will join Ed Sheeran in a mass rendition of God Save The Queen outside Buckingham Palace.
Other prominent figures will be campaigner Baroness Lawrence, singer Marc Almond, presenter Dame Prue Leith, actresses Dame Joan Collins and Dame Sheila Hancock and composer Lord Lloyd-Webber.
Some 10,000 people, including a cast of 6,000 performers, are involved in staging the two-mile carnival procession from Horse Guards, along Whitehall to Admiralty Arch, and down The Mall to Buckingham Palace.
Sheeran will also perform his love song Perfect in tribute to the Queen and her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh while a montage of footage of the couple plays on screens.
Up to one billion people are expected to tune in to watch the parade, with organisers estimating some 100,000 will line the route. It is hoped the Queen will be able to make the balcony appearance, despite her mobility issues.
It has been reported now that she is no longer planning to attend the Epsom Derby on Saturday — one of her favourite events of the year — to pace herself for the busy run of national occasions.