On Sunday 6 February, Queen Elizabeth became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, which marks 70 years on the throne.
Her Majesty ascended to the throne at the age of 25 on this day in 1952, the same day her father, King George VI, died.
In her seven decade-long reign, she has seen 14 British prime ministers come and go and has travelled more widely around the world than any monarch before her.
Earlier this year, Buckingham Palace announced a number of Platinum Jubilee celebrations to be held throughout 2022 in honour of the Queen. But do we get an extra bank holiday to celebrate?
Do we get an extra bank holiday in 2022?
Yes. The culture secretary Oliver Dowden announced the additional bank holiday in November 2020 and confirmed that the May bank holiday weekend would be moved to Thursday 2 June.
The Platinum Jubilee bank holiday will then take place the following day, on Friday 3 June, resulting in a four-day bank holiday weekend for the nation.
According to the Royal Family’s website, the bank holiday will “provide an opportunity for communities and people throughout the United Kingdom to come together to celebrate the historic milestone”.
Why is the bank holiday in June?
Although the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne fell on 6 February, it was also also the anniversary of the death of her father.
Therefore, the Queen does not wish to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee on the same day.
Instead, the first week of June was chosen for the celebratory weekend, in line with the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees. Historically, the Queen’s previous Jubilees have taken place in the first or second week of June.
Holding the weekend in the summer months also gives Britons a better chance of good weather compared to February and therefore more people will be able to take part in the planned activities and events to mark the occasion.
What events are planned for the bank holiday?
Public events and community activities are set to take place across the country to mark the Queen’s 70 years of service.
These include a nationwide baking competition, called the Platinum Pudding competition, which invited applications to create a new recipe in honour of Her Majesty.
On Thursday 2 June, the Queen’s Birthday Parade – also known as Trooping the Colour – will take place. It is usually held to mark her official birthday on the second Saturday in June, but has been moved earlier for the special bank holiday weekend.
More than 1,500 Platinum Jubilee beacons will be lit throughout the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and UK Overseas Territories on this day. For the first time, beacons will also be lit in each capital city of Commonwealth countries to celebrate.
On Friday 3 June, a Service of Thanksgiving will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The following day, Saturday 4 June, will see the Queen attending the Derby at Epsom Downs with members of her family.
The BBC will also stage and broadcast a special live concert from Buckingham Palace, with “some of the world’s biggest entertainment stars” performing. Members of the public will be invited to apply to attend the event.
On the last day, Sunday 5 June, the Big Jubilee Lunch will take place, where communities are invited to “come together in a spirit of fun and friendship”.
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant will also take place on this day, with performers, dancers, musicians, military personnel, key workers and volunteers taking part in the festival.
Will the extra bank holiday become permanent?
There has been no confirmation of the additional bank holiday being made permanent, but it has been reported that prime minister Boris Johnson has privately backed the idea.
According to the Telegraph, Johnson is said to be “highly supportive” of the idea of a “Thank Holiday” from next year to recognise the Queen’s service.
It comes as a campaign was launched earlier this year for the holiday, supported by organisations including charities and businesses.
The campaign calls for both the UK and Scottish governments to create the new annual bank holiday from 2023 to recognise the Queen’s service as well as the service of millions of people across the country, particularly over the last two years.