Platinum Jubilee joy as Northern Ireland celebrations hit peak

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations will reach their peak in Northern Ireland on Saturday on the third day of an extended, celebratory weekend.

By Mark Rainey
Saturday, 4th June 2022, 5:00 am
Minister of State for NI Conor Burns joins in the Platinum Jubilee  celebrations on the Donegal road in Belfast. Photo: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye
Minister of State for NI Conor Burns joins in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations on the Donegal road in Belfast. Photo: Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

Tens of thousands of people right across the region have been waltzing, singing, sipping tea and reflecting on the remarkable 70-year reign of the 96-year-old monarch.

As well as the many street parties, church halls hosted sit-down dinners for pensioners and there was an old-time tea dance at Belfast City Hall.

Friday’s celebrations and commemorations followed the lighting of special beacons across the United Kingdom on Thursday night, and included a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

Although the Queen was unable to attend St Paul’s, crowds flocked to see the other senior members of the Royal Family, and there were cheers for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan, as they arrived for the service conducted by the Archbishop of York.

They joined the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as almost 40 royals came together for the commemorative event.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson attended the service at St Paul’s, but was also keeping a close eye on the festivities back home.

The DUP leader said the widespread celebrations in Northern Ireland demonstrate the “high esteem” in which the Queen is held.

“It was an honour to be able to attend the service, and I felt it was a very fitting tribute to Her Majesty in the 70th year of her reign,” he said.

“It was sad not to have the Queen with us for the service but we all understand why she wasn’t able to attend, and I think that the entire nation is wishing her well and we truly hope that she will have many more years to continue her reign.

“I felt the service was very uplifting, and in I thought that the Archbishop of York spoke very well in the sermon – particularly about the Queen’s faith and how that has helped sustain her throughout all of these 70 years.”

Sir Jeffrey said he believes the monarchy is well positioned to continue for future generations.

“I think that the Queen has provided stability to the monarchy over many years and it is in a very strong position today, not least because of her leadership.”

Commenting on Northern Ireland’s role in celebrating the Jubilee, he said: “It was great to see a number of Northern Ireland people at the service and indeed some taking part in the service itself.

“I was delighted that Northern Ireland was so well represented today at St Paul’s, and it re-emphasises that we are a valued part of the Union.”

Sir Jeffrey said he was pleased to the local celebratory events so well supported.

“It is great to see so many people coming out to the Jubilee events across Northern Ireland, and I think it is an indication of the high esteem in which Her Majesty is held right across the community.”

Many more celebratory events are due to take place on Sunday.