6th June 2022
The unique bonds between Her Majesty the Queen, the Monarchy and the City of London are very important and are based on the historical links and interplay of the City and Westminster over the centuries. This naturally leads to the celebrations of significant moments in the life of our Monarch being commemorated in the City of London.
From the moment that William the First in 1067 recognised that the City was unconquerable and decided to seek peace by Charter, the scene was set for the City to be a loyal subject but retaining its ancient customs and rights.
These were further enshrined in the Magna Carta in 1215 when the then Mayor of London (only in 1354 did the title Lord Mayor start to be used) was the only non-hereditary Baron to witness the sealing at Runnymede.
In more recent history the City celebrated Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and a flagstone marks the spot where her carriage sat during the celebratory service within St Paul’s Cathedral.
H M Queen Elizabeth II has attended many services at St Paul’s to mark her significant birthdays, anniversaries and Jubilees. In 2002, at the Golden Jubilee, the ceremonial acknowledgment at Temple Bar was re-enacted with then Lord Mayor Sir Michael Oliver. In 2012 the Diamond Jubilee, in conjunction with the Olympics, created a spectacular year of celebration.
In 2022 the unprecedented Platinum Jubilee was no exception with a multiplicity of special events planned. The City lit a Beacon as part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons, hosted the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s and greeted The Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games in Paternoster Square. Alongside this the Lord Mayor and others were involved in the wider celebrations at Buckingham Palace and in the Mall. In particular, many Livery Companies supported the spectacular Pageant that took place on Sunday 5th June.
Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacon Thursday June 2nd
The Rotary Club of London with the City Livery Club arranged the lighting of a Platinum Jubilee Beacon on the rooftop garden of Nomura – the Japanese investment house based in my Ward of Dowgate. The evening included Bollywood dancers and a Duke of Edinburgh Award Winners fashion show. The Deputy Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, Dr Arjoon Suddhoo, spoke of the Beacons flashing across the Commonwealth Nations. The Lord Mayor lit the beacon at 21.45 and the light shone out across the River and the City, part of a long line stretching the length of the UK. Photo © MikeWilliams.
St Paul’s Service of Thanksgiving Friday June 3rd
The meticulous detail involved in the service was proved to be perfect as the plans culminated in an operationally flawless event and deeply meaningful service. All the serving members of the Royal Family attended, bar Her Majesty. The Prime Minister and most of the Cabinet and Opposition as well as all living former Prime Ministers were in attendance. The Cathedral was full.
The protocol surrounding the relationship between the Lord Mayor and the Royal Family is steeped in centuries of custom and, when the Queen withdrew, some replanning took place. In the presence of the Queen the Lord Mayor carries the Pearl Sword that was presented to the Lord Mayor by Elizabeth I in 1571. Otherwise, the Sword of State is carried by the Swordbearer together with the Mace carried by the Common Cryer. The Lord Mayor wears velvet court dress with the Reception Robe of deep red velvet and an ermine cape. He also wore the Thomas More Chain of Ss with his badge of office.
The Lord Mayor with the Sheriffs arrived in the three Rolls Royces in state and with a blue light City of London Police escort from Mansion House to St Paul’s. The procession into the Cathedral formed quickly to pass into the Cathedral. The Lord Mayor remained at the entrance to greet all the members of the Royal Family on the steps of St Paul’s and then escorted the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall followed by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to their seats.
The Service was full of amazing music and is still available on BBC iPlayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0017z7t/the-queens-platinum-jubilee-a-service-of-thanksgiving-no-commentary
A wonderful sermon, preached by the Archbishop of York, managed that tricky balance of purposeful and poignant with humour and affection: https://www.archbishopofyork.org/news/latest-news/sermon-st-pauls-cathedral-celebrating-her-majesty-queens-platinum-jubilee
Following the service, the celebration continued in a reception at the Guildhall. The Lord Mayor spoke of the greatest admiration for the unswerving dedication with which Her Majesty has fulfilled her exceptional role. He said that this remarkable commitment has been an inspiration to all those seeking to contribute to the welfare of the people of this country.
All the guests mingled and enjoyed some light refreshments and the chance to share a few reminiscences.
The Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games 4th June
Birmingham is hosting the Commonwealth Games in July and The Queen’s Baton is making its way across 72 nations and territories. Arriving in Paternoster Square on Jubilee weekend meant we could party and promote sport in the sunny City square. With the Minister for Sport Nigel Huddleston and Dame Louise Martin, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, the Lord Mayor greeted the baton relay.
The whole Square was filled with basketball, table tennis and cycling and many visitors. Wearing our scarlet gowns and badges it was tricky for the Lord Mayor and me to find our form in the basketball hoop challenge. Photo © MikeWilliams
Photographs within the Service and Reception were limited and so I (below) share some recent photos with the Prince of Wales, The Princess Royal and with the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, whom Sheriff Nick and I hosted at the reception in Guildhall.
God save the Queen!
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Newsletters from Alderman & Sheriff Alison Gowman