LONDON – British and international luxury brands, including Burberry, Charlotte Tilbury and Moët & Chandon, are playing a small, but significant, role in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which culminate Sunday afternoon with a street pageant – in four acts – in central London.
Those brands are among the “Platinum Partners,” or top supporters, of the pageant, along with Jaguar, Land Rover, Lloyds Bank, and others. They join a host of other backers such as Sotheby’s, Fortnum & Mason, Boodles, and mass names such as Meta, McDonalds and Cadbury are also lending their support.
The pageant starts at 2:30 p.m. local time at Whitehall and will make its way through through Admiralty Arch and up The Mall. The finale will take place just outside Buckingham Palace around the Queen Victoria Memorial.
Celebrities from a variety of industries will take part in the three-hour event, including Ed Sheeran, Heston Blumenthal, Jeremy Irons and Gok Wan. In the works for many months, the event has been likened to the opening and closing extravaganzas of The London 2012 Summer Olympics.
While the British government has earmarked 28 million pounds for many of the Jubilee events, Sunday’s pageant is the result of private fundraising efforts by the Platinum Jubilee Pageant Ltd. It is estimated to be costing 15 million pounds.
As part of its support for the Jubilee weekend, Burberry has also teamed with Historic Royal Palaces to support Superbloom, an immersive floral display that encircles the Tower of London.
The brand is contributing two original, immersive outdoor installations, including a large, floating Burberry-branded meadow that is moored directly across from the Tower of London, on the Thames.
Burberry has also funded an art wall by the digital artist Jon Emmony that’s on display at the entrance of Superbloom.
The brand has also teamed with primary school children to create artwork and messages for the queen, marking her many decades on the throne. It worked with children at Armley Park Primary School in Leeds, near to Burberry’s Yorkshire factories.
The children’s creations have been enlarged and displayed on more than 80 bus stops throughout central London, where the Platinum Jubilee Pageant is taking place.
Tilbury, meanwhile, is the official beauty partner of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, and has also created themed collections and accessories to mark the occasion.
The makeup artist and entrepreneur said the queen’s reign “has seen the most incredible transformations in the way that we live our lives – and throughout it all our queen has embraced change, captured our hearts, and led our country with pride through seven immense decades. I want to celebrate (her) timeless beauty, grace and dedication.”
Another luxury name has provided creative inspiration, rather than financial support, during the Jubilee celebrations: the queen’s longtime couturier Norman Hartnell.
Hartnell’s design for the queen’s coronation dress is the centerpiece of Superbloom at the Tower of London.
The Queen’s Garden, which has been installed in the Tower’s Bowling Green, features a combination of meadow flowers, topiary and summer-flowering perennials, bulbs and ornamental grasses.
Developed by Grant Associates, the lead designers for the Superbloom project, the garden draws on the colors, shapes and motifs deployed by Hartnell in the 1953 gown.
The display also features 12 cast glass forms by the artist Max Jacquard, representing the national emblems in Hartnell’s design. In the center of these motifs sits a glass crown, which is meant to be a reminder of the Tower’s role as home of the Crown Jewels.
According to Matthew Storey, collections curator at Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that manages state properties including Hampton Court Palace, the Tower of London and Kensington Palace, the garden’s design takes its inspiration from the “tiers of embroidery” on the coronation dress.
The glass is meant to lend “sparkle” to the display, and to echo the sequin and crystal shimmer of the original design.
Storey said the 27-year-old queen, who was crowned on June 2, 1953, was adamant that the symbols on her coronation dress be correct. Hartnell had originally suggested floral emblems from Great Britain, but Her Majesty was thinking bigger and had wanted to acknowledge the Commonwealth countries, too.
The result of their conversations was a white duchess satin gown with floral emblems representing the queen’s nine dominions, Britain and the Commonwealth regions, picked out in shiny threads, seed pearls, sequins and crystals.
Hartnell even included the decidedly unglamorous leek to represent Wales, and added an extra four-leaf shamrock on the left side of the skirt for good luck so that Elizabeth’s hand could rest on it during the historic ceremony.
While luxury brands have played a big role during the Jubilee, the film industry, and the Paddington Bear franchise in particular, took a star turn on Saturday night in a surprise skit starring the queen.
“Happy Jubilee, Ma’am, and thank you … for everything,” said the bear, tipping his red hat to the queen, whom he discovered also carries a marmalade sandwich with her in case of emergency.
The two were filmed having tea at Windsor Palace. At one point, the queen pulls a big sandwich out of her signature black handbag. “I keep mine in here for later,” she told the bear.
The skit, with Paddington voiced by Ben Whishaw, kicked off the Party at the Palace concert on Saturday night, which saw musical performances from Queen, Duran Duran, Alicia Keys, Stefflon Don and Rod Stewart live at Buckingham Palace.