The monarch will mark 70 years on the throne on February 6, making her the first British ruler to ever celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. (She is already the commonwealth’s longest-reigning monarch, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria in 2015.)
Buckingham Palace announced the initial plans for the celebration on January 10, kicking everything off with a nationwide baking competition to create a Jubilee Pudding in honor of the occasion. The festivities will culminate in a four-day weekend in the U.K. lasting from June 2 through June 5. “The bank holiday will provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone,” the palace said in a statement at the time.
The queen is no stranger to setting unprecedented records, becoming the first British monarch to celebrate a Sapphire Jubilee — which occurs after 65 years on the throne — in 2017. Elizabeth rose to power in February 1952 after her father, King George VI, died at age 56. She was coronated in June 1953.
Since taking the throne, the queen has been served by 14 British prime ministers including Winston Churchill (her first), Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. She is also the longest-serving female head of state in the history of any country.
Though the upcoming event is supposed to be a joyous occasion, it will also mark the queen’s first jubilee without her husband, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99. On a happier note, however, it may provide the monarch with the chance to see all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren after the coronavirus pandemic forced her to scale back her Christmas plans.
In January 2021, royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti exclusively told Us Weekly that Prince Harry could make the journey to the U.K. for the celebration with his wife, Meghan Markle, and their children, Archie and Lili. Since her birth in June 2021, Lili hasn’t yet been to her father’s home country.
“This is an extremely exciting moment,” the British journalist told Us, noting that the jubilee could give the family another opportunity to mend fences after the Sussexes announced they were stepping down as senior royals in January 2020.
“Sometimes all families might use a special occasion or an event to put some things behind them that maybe have been causing trouble,” Sacerdoti explained. “Hopefully, this jubilee year will be the opportunity for them to do so.”
Keep scrolling for everything to know about the queen’s Platinum Jubilee: