2 June 2012 05:12 ET
The Queen is to attend the Epsom Derby later, launching a four-day weekend of events for her Diamond Jubilee.
The Queen is due to be driven down the course in an open-top car, there will be a Red Arrows display and Katherine Jenkins will sing the National Anthem.
The weekend’s main celebrations include the Thames pageant involving 1,000 boats on Sunday, and Monday’s concert in front of Buckingham Palace.
There will be events UK-wide to mark 60 years since the Queen’s accession.
On the final day of the weekend, the Queen will attend a national service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, before thousands of well-wishers are expected to line the route of a formal carriage procession back to Buckingham Palace.
Diamond Jubilee: Key events
The main weekend events to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee include:
- The Queen attends the Epsom Derby
- Katherine Jenkins sings the National Anthem and a Red Arrows display takes place
- The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant – featuring 1,000 boats escorting the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh – takes place from 14:00 BST
- The Big Jubilee Lunch takes place across the UK
- The BBC’s Jubilee concert takes place, featuring performances by Sir Paul McCartney and Madness
- At 22:00 BST, more than 4,000 beacons will be lit around the world to mark 60 years of the Queen’s reign. The Queen lights the National Beacon at 22:30 BST
- A national service of thanksgiving takes place at St Paul’s Cathedral at 10:30 BST, attended by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
- A lunch at Westminster Hall and a carriage procession to Buckingham Palace is planned, with a balcony appearance by the royals, and fly-past, at 15:30 BST
The Royal Family will then make a balcony appearance at the palace.
On Friday, roads in central London were closed in the early hours as members of the armed forces and the Household Division were among 2,000 servicemen and women rehearsing the carriage procession from Westminster Hall.
And crews of the 1,000-strong flotilla that will escort the royal barge along the Thames on Sunday were briefed.
The start of the celebrations was signalled by a 21-gun salute from Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond, in Portsmouth, Hampshire.
And tributes were paid to the Queen on Friday by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams.
In an interview with Sky News, Mr Cameron said: ” What I see in Her Majesty is someone – in spite of the fact she’s been on the throne for 60 years, in spite of the fact that her and Prince Philip are now relatively elderly – there is an extraordinary level of physical energy, mental energy, and above all devotion to her people, to the institutions of this country, to the way our democracy works.”
Dr Williams issued a video tribute to the Queen, praising her as “someone who can be friendly, who can be informal, who can be extremely funny in private – and not everybody appreciates just how funny she can be – who is quite prepared to tease and to be teased, and who, while retaining her dignity always, doesn’t stand on her dignity in a conversation.”
Labour leader Ed Miliband said the weekend’s festivities would celebrate “everything that is best about our country” and praised the Queen’s “selfless dedication to duty”.
Millions of Britons are expected to take part in Jubilee parties, outdoor concerts and fairs being staged across the country over the weekend.
It’s a fitting start to the Jubilee weekend. The Queen adores the Derby – it’s rumoured that when the royal diary is drawn up the Derby is the first date put in. The Queen would normally come to Epsom in a private capacity but this year her attendance has become the first official royal engagement of the Jubilee weekend.
Horse racing is a well-documented passion of the Queen. She comes to Epsom not just as a spectator, but as a real expert from breeding, training and racing to perhaps even a bit of betting. She’ll watch the races from the royal box but she’ll also be down in the paddock and in the winners’ circle over the course of the afternoon.
The Queen’s passion for the Derby could also be put down to the fact a winner has always eluded her. It’s the Classic she’s never managed to win. And there’ll be no Diamond Jubilee fairytale today as there is no royal runner in this years field.
The closest the Queen could get to a winner may be via the Middleton family. Carole Middleton is a part owner of Sohraab which is racing at Epsom this afternoon.
On Sunday, in what is being called the Big Jubilee Lunch, people all over the UK are being encouraged to share lunch with neighbours and friends in street parties or picnics to bring communities together.
Monday’s concert, in front of Buckingham Palace in the area surrounding the Queen Victoria Memorial, will see performances from artists including Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Elton John, Jessie J, JLS and Ed Sheeran.
The concert will be broadcast live on BBC One, BBC One HD and on BBC Radio 2 in the UK and to millions around the world.
When it ends at 22:00 BST, more than 4,000 beacons are due to be lit in the UK and around the world.
The Queen lights the UK’s last beacon – the National Beacon – at about 22:30 BST, to be followed by a firework display at Buckingham Palace.
The weather forecast is poor for the official celebrations and street parties in the south of England.
Light rain is expected on Saturday, while the next day’s Jubilee river pageant along the Thames could be doused in rain with temperatures reaching a high of 11C, according to BBC Weather.
The north of England and Scotland are the most likely areas to avoid the rain.
Queen Elizabeth II was born on April 21st, 1926 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_II
April 21st, 1926
4 + 21 +2+0+1+2 = 30 = her personal year (from April 21st, 2012 to April 20th, 2013) = Blessed. Thankful. Appreciative. Clothing. Style. Fashion. Attire. Wardrobe.
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