Politics

How the nation came together to put on a right royal spread 


Lunch for 18million! Hundreds dining at tables on the Long Walk to Windsor Castle, al-fresco eating at the beach, and a party for revellers spanning the Thames… How the nation came together to put on a right royal spread

  • Jubilee meant 18million people came together over the bank holiday weekend 
  • Claiming the record for longest Jubilee street party was Morecambe, Lancashire
  • Another party stretched half a mile and even spanned a bridge over the Thames 

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There had been plenty of pomp and ceremony – now it was time for the nation to have a knees-up.

An incredible 18million people came together over the bank holiday weekend at street parties, lunches, picnics and back garden barbecues.

With miles of bunting and banquet-style spreads, the celebrations in honour of the monarch’s 70 years of public service defied grey skies and showers in many areas.

Arguably claiming the record for longest Jubilee street party was a damp Morecambe in Lancashire, with 5,000 people sitting at 500 tables over 1½ miles. 

Sonia Gittins, 96, who is three days older than the monarch, said: ‘She has done so much for us all. I think she deserves this week’s celebrations.’

With miles of bunting and banquet-style spreads, the celebrations in honour of the monarch’s 70 years of public service defied grey skies and showers in many areas

With miles of bunting and banquet-style spreads, the celebrations in honour of the monarch’s 70 years of public service defied grey skies and showers in many areas

Another party, stretching half a mile and spanning a bridge over the Thames, linked the Oxfordshire village of Goring with Streatley in Berkshire.

Some 3,520 people on 550 tables sat on a route lined with Union flags. Freelance TV producer Laura Pratley, 33, who attended with her mother Carol, 68, said: ‘They [the royals] bring so much unity to this country.

‘I think that’s just what we need when times are difficult in the world.’ Meanwhile, the Earl and Countess of Wessex joined thousands of the Queen’s neighbours seated at 488 tables spread out for half a mile along the Long Walk at Windsor Castle.

The lunch followed a free party for 50,000 on Saturday. Debbie Reynolds, who went to both events, said: ‘It’s fantastic that the Queen has allowed us to celebrate in what is effectively her back garden.’

With miles of bunting and banquet-style spreads, the celebrations in honour of the monarch’s 70 years of public service defied grey skies and showers in many areas

With miles of bunting and banquet-style spreads, the celebrations in honour of the monarch’s 70 years of public service defied grey skies and showers in many areas

Hundreds of thousands of events were organised around the UK. The furthest north was in Scalloway, in the Shetland Islands, while most westerly was Enniskillen Castle in Northern Ireland. Corton in Suffolk and Lizard, Cornwall, were the furthest east and south. 

The gatherings were packed despite the disappointing weather, with only a handful falling casualty to the rain.

However, a picnic in Charnwood, Leicestershire, was called off, with the council tweeting: ‘Due to the heavy rain and a yellow weather warning for thunderstorms, we have reluctantly decided to cancel.’

Peter Stewart, from the Eden Project in Cornwall, which came up with the idea for the annual Big Lunch, renamed the Big Jubilee Lunch, said: ‘This phenomenal response expresses the sense of community spirit in neighbourhoods all around the UK, our appetite for making local connections, and shows just how much we have all longed to get back together.’

The gatherings were packed despite the disappointing weather, with only a handful falling casualty to the rain. A street party is seen above in the village of Cerne Abbas, Dorset

The gatherings were packed despite the disappointing weather, with only a handful falling casualty to the rain. A street party is seen above in the village of Cerne Abbas, Dorset

Record-breaker: At 1.6 miles, the Lancashire seaside resort of took the record for longest Jubilee street party

Record-breaker: At 1.6 miles, the Lancashire seaside resort of took the record for longest Jubilee street party

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