Beacons marking the Platinum Jubilee will be lit at iconic sites across the nation and the Commonwealth, including the Tower of London, Windsor Great Park, Hillsborough Castle, the Queen’s estates of Sandringham and Balmoral, and on the summits of the UK’s four highest peaks.
The first beacons will be lit in Tonga and Samoa in the South Pacific, and the final one in the central American country of Belize. The principal beacon can be found outside the Palace – a 21-metre-tall Tree of Trees sculpture for the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative – will be illuminated by a senior member of the royal family, and images will be projected on to the Palace.
Why are we lighting beacons for the Queen’s Jubilee?
Lighting beacons have been used to celebrate Royal Jubilees, Weddings and Coronations for centuries. The beacons have previously been placed on top of mountains, church and cathedral towers, castle battlements, in the middle of village greens, in pride of place in country estates, or along beaches and cliff tops.
The idea is for them to be a unifying sight for the local people to enjoy, tied together by the principal beacon, which is usually lit outside of Buckingham Palace or an equally significant site.
One famous example of the beacons in use is from 1897, when beacons were lit to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. In 1977, 2002 and 2012, beacons commemorated the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees of The Queen, and again for her Her Majesty’s 90th birthday in 2016.
On Thursday (June 2), there are three types of beacons being lit:
- A free-standing beacon fuelled by bottle gas
- A beacon brazier with a metal shield
- A bonfire beacon
Platinum Jubilee Beacons near me in Edinburgh and the Lothians
Scotland's Capital will light a beacon at Edinburgh Castle to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
In Edinburgh the schedule is:
9.35pm: A young Army Cadet piper will play ‘Diu Regnare’, a unique tune specially written for the occasion by Piper Major, Stuart Liddell, the world’s leading piper.
9.40pm: An Army Cadet bugler will officially announce the lighting of the beacons with a specially written bugle call, entitled ‘Majesty’.
9.45pm: The beacon will be lit jointly by the newly appointed Lord Provost of Edinburgh and the Army’s Commander of Edinburgh Garrison.
Lord Provost Robert Aldridge said: “We are proud to be part of this momentous celebration. It is only appropriate that this unique milesone in history is marked with music.
“What more fitting location for the lighting of a Beacon than from Edinburgh Castle where it can be seen from the streets below.”
West Lothian will also join a global chain of beacons lit to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
A West Lothian Council spokesperson said: “We plan to take part in a number of national and local events and initiatives to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, in partnership with the West Lothian Lieutenancy.
“These include lighting of the Platinum Jubilee Beacons at Beecraigs Country Park, where beacons will be lit throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK Overseas Territories and Commonwealth countries.”
Beacons will also be lit tomorrow night across East Lothian to mark Her Majesty the Queen's historic anniversary.
Street parties, parades and gala days are being held across East Lothian over the long weekend, with 14 public jubilee events planned in villages and towns over the next four days.
The party kicks off on Thursday with a parade in Musselburgh before official beacon lighting ceremonies in the town.
In North Berwick, a fete will take place at the harbour before the town’s official beacon is lit, and beacons are also being officially lit in Wallyford, Port Seton, Dunbar and Cockenzie.