The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marked her 70th birthday as monarch, took place this past weekend.
The milestone was marked with commemorative events in London.
I attended many of the events and found that reality was not what it appears on social media.
On the first weekend of June, thousands of people from all over the world gathered in London, UK, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marked her 70th anniversary on the throne.
I was in town from Wednesday, June 1st to Sunday, June 5th to cover Insider’s Jubilee. While the trip was amazing, I saw another perspective that hasn’t been shown on social media or TV.
The first event I attended was the Trooping the Color parade on June 2nd. The parade of horses, soldiers and royal musicians took place at Buckingham Palace Mall and was followed by a royal appearance on the palace balcony.
The parade was open to the public. Buckingham Palace Road was understandably busy and roads were cordoned off as people made their way to the palace.
Hundreds of people passed through nearby St James’s Park two hours before the event began.
I finally got to the parade route at The Mall, a street that starts at Buckingham Palace and ends at Trafalgar Square.
Some people brought stools to help them see over the huge crowd, and I wish I had thought of the idea myself.
Others brought chairs to stay comfortable while waiting for hours.
When the parade started at 10am, some people didn’t try to see over the crowd and instead opted to sunbathe on the nearby grass.
I found a spot at the end of the parade route and had a pretty clear view at the start.
When royalty appeared in carriages, however, it was extremely difficult to see over all the camera phones in the sky.
When the parade ended, the barricades on The Mall were removed and everyone was invited to Buckingham Palace to watch an overpass.
The royal family watched from the balcony. My view of them was partially obstructed as a stage was being built for the Platinum Party show, which was to take place later that weekend.
I felt sorry for the tourists who might have been seeing the palace for the first time that day as it was so busy you couldn’t even take a picture without being bombed.
Later that night, there was a lighthouse lighting ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The palace was isolated and guarded by security, as the event was not open to the public.
The palace was off limits for most of the weekend. On several occasions, when I tried to stop and take a picture, I was urged to “keep moving” by security.
On 3 June, images of the queen were projected in the palace. Although this was a spectacular sight, the palace was still partially isolated and you could only walk to The Mall before being stopped by security.
On 4 June, the BBC Platinum Party took place at the Palace. The concert at Buckingham Palace saw the likes of Alicia Keys and Queen and Adam Lambert take the stage.
The concert was open to those who had won tickets in public scrutiny. For those without a ticket, a small screening took place at St. James’s Park, nearby.
There was also the option to watch from The Mall. While the atmosphere was electric, it was impossible to see.
The surrounding area was overcrowded with royal fans, security guards, and large groups of police officers on duty.
And it wasn’t just the palace that was busy over the Jubilee weekend. The entire city was overcrowded.
There were long queues at subway stations.
This was particularly the case in central London after major royal events such as Piccadilly Circus station after the Platinum Festival. I felt bad for Londoners working the area trying to get home.
The two things I was sure to see every day were crowds of people and UK flags.
Overall, Jubilee weekend was spectacular – but it also taught me that you shouldn’t always trust what you see on TV screens or social media.
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