Assembly snubbing Queen’s Platinum Jubilee ‘would be incredible’

Unionists have insisted the Stormont Parliament must mark the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee, after a spokeswoman for the Assembly said she could not confirm whether any events will take place.

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 7:17 am
The Queen in Portsmouth during the Silver Jubilee, 1977

The occasion is a major milestone for unionists, representing 70 years since Queen Elizabeth II took the throne following the death of her father, becoming the UK’s Head of State.

The exact date when she assumed the crown was February 6, 1952.

At that time, she was aged just 25.

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But although the anniversary of her reign falls in February, many of the activities to mark the milestone are due to take place during summer 2022, around the Queen’s coronation date.

The Queen is already the longest-serving monarch in the history of the British Isles, having long surpassed Queen Victoria’s 63-year reign (from 1837 until 1901).

An extended bank holiday will be in operation in the monarch’s honour, running from Thursday June 2, 2022, to Sunday, June 5.

In London, around 1,400 soldiers will take part in a Trooping the Colour parade on June 2, and a 5,000-strong pageant parade will happen on June 5.

A number of councils in the Province will organise their own events, and the Northern Ireland Office (NIO), the Westminster government’s official representatives in the Province, said: “As was the case with previous Jubilee celebrations, the NIO is working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on potential activity in Northern Ireland.”

But when the press office for the NI Assembly was asked if it is planning to do anything, a spokeswoman responded: “In 2012, the then Speaker hosted an event on behalf of the Assembly to mark the Diamond Jubilee.

“However, as an Assembly election is scheduled to take place next year, no arrangements for events in June 2022 will be confirmed until the new Assembly is in place and has appointed officeholders.

“The election is expected to be in early May and it is entirely normal that the decisions on how such events are marked will be made by those who will be in office at the time and will be presiding over them.”

It comes against a backdrop of unionist anger over a decision by Sinn Fein to bar a small stone map of Northern Ireland from being placed in Stormont’s grounds, marking 100 years since the state was formed.

In response, DUP MLA Mervyn Storey said: “This is something I’ll be exploring further.

“It would be incredible for the NI Assembly not to mark this historic milestone.

“We can all remember 2012 when 30k people descended on Stormont to welcome Her Majesty The Queen. Such events are not organised in weeks. They require time.

“I will be writing to the Speaker to ensure appropriate plans are made which will transcend the mandate If necessary.”

UUP leader Doug Beattie said: “The UUP strongly believes the Assembly should have plans in place to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, along with the rest of the UK... and we will be working to ensure this is the case.

“We’ve already made the case, in the wider commemoration space, that any medallic recognition should include members of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, the Police, NHS as well as armed forces personnel.”

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