Once again the Bugle prints the announcement from Robin Sidgwick about the planned Bildeston Street Party to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It is repeated to help make sure everyone in the village knows about the party and helps to link together any other planned street parties to complement each other rather than compete.
Although celebrations are planned for June, this month is significant as it was 6th February 1952 when Elizabeth became Queen. The Platinum Jubilee of Elizabeth II will be marked in 2022 in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth in recognition of the 70th anniversary, an extra bank holiday will be created and the traditional Spring bank holiday will be moved from the end of May to the start of June, to create a special four day Jubilee bank holiday weekday weekend from Thursday 2nd June 2022 to Sunday 5th June 2022. The British government has promised a “once-in-a-generation show” that will “mix the best of British ceremonial splendour and pageantry with cutting edge artistic and technological displays”. It will be the first time that any British monarch has celebrated a platinum jubilee.
Elizabeth has been Queen for 70 years as she was just 25 years old when George VI, her father, died in the early morning of 6 February at Sandringham House in Norfolk. A period of national mourning began and Elizabeth II was proclaimed the new monarch by the Accession Council. George VI’s coffin lay in St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham until 11 February when it was carried, in procession, to the nearby Wolferton railway station. The coffin was taken by train to London King’s Cross railway station where another formal procession carried it to Westminster Hall where the king lay in state for three days. Some 304,000 people passed through Westminster Hall with queues up to 4 miles long.
To have been the longest reigning monarch in our history is remarkable in another sense. When Elizabeth was born she was third in line to the throne and not destined to be Queen. The abdication crisis in 1936 ended with her father becoming King George VI in place of his brother and Elizabeth suddenly becoming next in line to the throne. Queen Elizabeth II has been our Head of State for most of people’s lives. The longest serving Head of State in the world. Whatever one’s views about the monarchy, it cannot be denied that Queen Elizabeth has kept steadfast to the promise she made to the nation when she first became queen 70 years ago. As our monarch and Head of State, Queen Elizabeth has personified the values of duty and service, an example that some public servants of today would do well to learn from. No wonder much has been made of the contrasting images of the Queen alone at Prince Philip’s funeral, and ‘work events’ at Downing Street.
There will be many and various events taking place through the months leading up to June. Several are planned for Suffolk, so our contribution of a Bildeston street party will sit proudly amongst them. Something to make us feel happier, to look forward to in a time full of unhappy news