Saturday, 2 April 2016

The Queen at 90: celebrations light the night sky

They do like a beacon. We have had them for royal weddings and Jubilees and now Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the Queen will carry out a series of engagements to mark her 90th birthday later this month culminating in the lighting of a beacon that will start a chain of 1000 fires across the UK to celebrate this special moment in royal history.

The Queen will light a beacon on April 21st to mark her 90th birthday

Because it is a big deal. The Queen has already claimed many records in her long tenure, the most famous being her place as the longest reigning monarch in British history. But no other ruler has reached the age of 90. So lighting up the night sky to celebrate seems like a very good idea.

The beacon will be lit in Windsor on the evening of April 21st, her actual 90th birthday. Later the same evening, Army Cadet Force members will light beacons on the top of the highest points in each of the four countries of the United Kingdom. And a chain of 1000 fires will come to light and life around the country.

It will be the end of two days of engagements for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. On April 20th they will visit the Royal Mail delivery office in Windsor as the postal service marks its 500th anniversary.  As well as getting to see some stamps with a very familiar face on them, the Queen will be serenaded by a choir.

While she is known to the world as Elizabeth II, she also carries the name of her grandmother, Mary and her great grandmother, Alexandra, and on the afternoon of April 20th, the Queen will open a new bandstand at gardens in Windsor which also share the name of Edward VII's consort. 

Alexandra of Denmark, Queen of England 1901 - 1910

On the big day itself, Elizabeth II will carry out a walkabout in Windsor to share her celebrations with as many people as possible and unveil a plaque marking the Queen's Walkway, a trail around Windsor covering 6.3 kilometres with 63 sights to see on it which was created to celebrate her record breaking reign.

Then, with her husband at her side, she will light the flames of a beacon that will send celebrations for her 90th birthday across the night sky. They will be joined by flickers of light across the country that she has reigned over far longer than any other person in history and the party for this latest record breaking chapter in the story of Elizabeth II will be well and truly under way.

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