The lighting of the Platinum Beacons on Thursday evening will mark the first community event commemorating the Queen’s Jubilee.
Celebrations began in earnest earlier in the day, with the Trooping the Colour ceremony followed by the spectacle of an RAF flypast.
The Queen appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to observe the parade, and will play a key role in the lighting of beacons tonight – here’s everything you need to know.
Where are the Platinum Beacons?
The Platinum Beacons will be lit throughout the UK and across the Commonwealth, with more than 3,500 in total.
Sites include the Tower of London, Windsor Great Park, Hillsborough Castle and the Queen’s estates of Sandringham and Balmoral, and on top of the UK’s four highest peaks.
The Queen is to symbolically lead the lighting of the principal Jubilee beacon from Windsor Castle as part of special dual ceremony with her grandson the Duke of Cambridge tonight.
Prince William will be waiting 22 miles away at Buckingham Palace, where the beacon centrepiece – a 21-metre Tree of Trees sculpture – will be illuminated in lights on the Queen’s command.
Here’s where the beacons will be lit across the Commonwealth:
- St John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
- Canberra, Australia
- Nassau, Bahamas
- Dhaka, Bangladesh
- Bridgetown, Barbados
- Belmopan, Belize
- Gaborone, Botswana
- Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
- Yaoundé, Cameroon
- Ottawa, Canada
- Nicosia, Cyprus
- Roseau, Dominica
- Mbabane , Ewatini
- Lobamba, Eswatini
- Suva, Fiji
- Banjul, The Gambia
- Accra, Ghana
- St George’s, Grenada
- Georgetown, Guyana
- New Delhi, India
- Kingston, Jamaica
- Nairobi, Kenya
- South Tarawa, Kiribati
- Maseru, Lesotho
- Lilongwe, Malawi
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Putrajaya, Malaysia
- Malé, Maldives
- Valletta, Malta
- Port Louis, Mauritius
- Maputo, Mozambique
- Windhoek, Namibia
- Yaren, Nauru
- Wellington, New Zealand
- Abuja, Nigeria
- Islamabad, Pakistan
- Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
- Kigali, Rwanda
- Basseterre, St Kitts and Nevis
- Castries, St Lucia
- Kingstown, St Vincent and the Grenadines
- Apia, Samoa
- Victoria, Seychelles
- Freetown, Sierra Leone
- Honiara, Solomon Islands
- Pretoria, South Africa
- Cape Town, South Africa
- Bloemfontein, South Africa
- Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Sri Lanka
- Colombo, Sri Lanka
- Dodoma, Tanzania
- Nuku’alofa, Tonga
- Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
- Funafuti, Tuvalu
- Kampala, Uganda
- Port Vila, Vanuatu
- Lusaka, Zambia
What time are the Jubilee Beacons being lit?
The Jubilee Beacons will be lit around the UK and Channel Islands at 9.45pm on Thursday 2 June, with pipers across the nation and Commonwealth performing the special commemorative tune “Diu Regnare” just before.
It will all be broadcast live on BBC One, with Platinum Beacons: Lighting up the Jubilee airing from 8.00pm to 10.00pm.
There are some exceptions, with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Anchor Chain lit at 9.30pm, and the 40 connecting beacons along Hadrian’s Wall at 10.00pm – international beacons are being lit at 9.15pm local time.
The first beacons were lit in Tonga and Samoa in the South Pacific, and the final one in the central American country of Belize.
Beacons were lit to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. They were also used in 1977, 2002 and 2012 to mark Elizabeth II’s Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees, as well as her 90th birthday in 2016.
What is the Platinum Jubilee?
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee commemorates her being on the throne for 70 years, with the main traditional jubilees as follows:
- Silver Jubilee: 25th anniversary
- Ruby Jubilee: 40th anniversary
- Golden Jubilee: 50th anniversary
- Diamond Jubilee: 60th anniversary
- Sapphire Jubilee: 65th anniversary
- Platinum Jubilee: 70th anniversary
Jubilee names will be familiar to many as they follow the same convention as those commonly used to denote significant wedding anniversaries.
The Queen and Prince Philip, for example, marked their platinum wedding anniversary in 2017, 70 years after they were married.
It is thought that this gift-giving tradition “originated in the late 19th century, during the Victorian era,” historian and author Stepahnie Coontz told Time magazine.
However, the celebration of royal jubilees pre-dates this, with the first recorded commemorations coming in the reign of George III, Queen Victoria’s grandfather.