Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee celebrations

By Lianne Kolirin, Kathryn Snowdon and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN

Updated 12:33 p.m. ET, June 2, 2022
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3:49 a.m. ET, June 2, 2022

Queen sends a message as her jubilee celebrations begin

From CNN's Max Foster and Lauren Said-Moorhouse

Britain's Queen Elizabeth has released a message through Buckingham Palace as commemorations for the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne get underway.

"Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth. I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions," the Queen said in a statement.
"I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm," Her Majesty added.

The 96-year-old monarch also released a specially commissioned Platinum Jubilee portrait to mark the start of the festivities. Taken by Ranald Mackechnie, the photograph shows the Queen sitting in the Victoria Vestibule at Windsor Castle last Wednesday. In the background, the castle's Round Tower and a statue of King Charles II, which stands in the famous quadrangle, can be seen.

She is wearing one of her signature Angela Kelly ensembles in a light blue, and it is embellished with pearl and diamante trim around the neckline and cascading down the front of the coat.

It's the third portrait Mackechnie has taken of the sovereign. A first portrait, published in 2016, celebrated Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, and a second published in 2020 marked the beginning of the new decade.

3:22 a.m. ET, June 2, 2022

What's coming up today

Soldiers on parade during The Colonel's Review at Horse Guards Parade on May 28 in London. The Colonel's Review is the final evaluation of the Trooping the Colour parade before the event which will take place on Thursday, June 2, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee.
Soldiers on parade during The Colonel's Review at Horse Guards Parade on May 28 in London. The Colonel's Review is the final evaluation of the Trooping the Colour parade before the event which will take place on Thursday, June 2, in celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee. (Tristan Fewings/Getty Images)

Britain’s four-day celebration of this unprecedented historic event kicks off on Thursday at 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.

Upon returning from the parade ground, the Queen and members of the royal family will make their customary balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace. 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.

4:55 a.m. ET, June 2, 2022

Welcome to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations

Huge crowds converged on central London for the start of four days of public events to mark Queen Elizabeth II's historic Platinum Jubilee on June 2.
Huge crowds converged on central London for the start of four days of public events to mark Queen Elizabeth II's historic Platinum Jubilee on June 2. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)

Hang up your bunting, put the kettle on and grab your party hats -- the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for the Britain's Queen Elizabeth II start today.

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.

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.

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. The Queen's private estates -- including Sandringham House and Balmoral Castle -- are also joining in with jubilee themed events.

The upcoming celebrations will be the Queen's first jubilee without her husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.