LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee celebrations in Britain, from A to Z:
A FOR ANNIVERSARY: Britons will enjoy a four-day public holiday long weekend from June 2-5 to mark the 60th anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth who is now 86.
B FOR BEACONS: Over 4,000 beacons will be lit across Britain and the Commonwealth, starting with Tonga and culminating outside Buckingham Palace on June 4.
C FOR CORGIS: Britons wanting to buy corgis, the queen’s favourite dog breed, increased by a third in the run-up to the jubilee. The queen owns three corgis and three dorgis — a dachshund cross.
D FOR DECOLONISATION: The 1956 Suez Crisis exposed Britain’s post-war weaknesses, and colonies declared independence throughout the 1960s. Queen Elizabeth remains head of state of 16 countries, including Australia and Canada.
E FOR EPSOM: On June 2 the queen will attend the Epsom Derby race meet, the only one of Britain’s five classic races that her own horses have so far failed to win.
F FOR FANS: Millions of visitors are expected to descend on London for the jubilee and again for the Olympics starting in July.
G FOR GROMIT: The much-loved plasticine dog and his cheese-loving master, Wallace, created by Aardman Animations, are to feature in a special 60-second film for the jubilee.
H FOR HORSES: The queen, a lifelong horse-lover, watched a huge pageant of 550 horses and more than 1,000 performers from around the world in Windsor on May 13 — the first large-scale jubilee event.
I FOR IRREVERENT: The wall of a north London budget store has been graced with jubilee graffiti by British street artist Banksy. But it is not entirely positive, depicting a monochrome child labourer sewing Union Jack bunting.
J FOR JOUSTING: The medieval sport in which horseback knights fight with lances has been little in evidence during Queen Elizabeth’s reign, but re-enactments will take place for the jubilee.
K FOR KATE: Kate Middleton married second-in-line to the throne Prince William last year, and the pair are credited with helping revive public goodwill towards the monarchy after a string of 1990s divorces and scandals.
L FOR LUNCH: Buckingham Palace is encouraging neighbourhoods to hold street parties or simply lunch with friends on June 3 as part of the jubilee festivities. Bunting sales are expected to soar.
M FOR MAGNIFICENT: Jubilee celebrations will be accompanied by classic British pomp. The queen and senior royals will take a traditional carriage ride through London on June 5.
N FOR NORFOLK: The queen spent February 6, the anniversary of king George VI’s death and her own accession to the throne, in the eastern English county of Norfolk, where her father died, carrying out low-key engagements.
O FOR OUTFITS: The queen is known for brightly-coloured outfits with matching hats.
P FOR PRINCE PHILIP: The queen’s trusty consort, now 90, has been criticised in the past for gaffes but their grandson Prince Harry told the BBC in January: “I don’t think that she could do it without him.”
Q FOR QUID: Slang British term for a pound. The queen has asked anyone wishing to give her a jubilee gift to donate to a Jubilee Trust instead, which will finance “iconic projects” across the Commonwealth over five years.
R FOR RIVER: The queen will lead a flotilla of up to 1,000 boats — everything from wooden launches to naval ships — on the River Thames on June 2 as celebrations reach their peak.
S FOR SERVICE: A service of thanksgiving will be held at Saint Paul’s Cathedral on June 5 for the queen, who is supreme governor of the Church of England.
T FOR TOURS: The queen has carried out 173 Commonwealth and 91 state visits during her reign. Reflecting their age, she and her husband are only touring Britain for the jubilee, with other royals visiting the Commonwealth.
U FOR UMBRELLA: Organisers will be praying for sunshine over the jubilee weekend in June, but unpredictable British weather means visitors should hang on to their rainwear.
V FOR VICTORIA: Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901, was the only other British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee.
W FOR WINDSOR CASTLE: The medieval royal residence west of London.
X FOR X-FACTOR: Gary Barlow, a judge on the award-winning television singing contest, has produced a special jubilee single, “Sing”, and is organising the June 4 jubilee concert starring Paul McCartney and Elton John.
Y FOR YOUTUBE: The Royal Channel on YouTube will feature official footage of jubilee festivities, which will also be flagged on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and the monarchy’s multimedia website.
Z FOR ZAZA: Also known as a gin and Dubonnet. The queen’s preferred cocktail before lunch. – Judith Evans, Agence France-Presse
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