President Macron and British Ambassador Dame Menna Rawlings are taking part in a special ceremony of ‘reviving’ the flame at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier this evening, to mark Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
The event, at 18:30 to 19:00, is expected to be covered by French media and will also be live on the Elysée’s social media pages, one of the event organisers said. The public will be able to attend.
Intended as a symbolic moment of Franco-British friendship, the ceremony will include the British national anthem performed by the fanfare of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, followed by the Marseillaise, played by the orchestra of the Republican guard.
There will also be a review of troops, the placing of a wreath, and signing of a commemorative book.
Dame Menna said: “It is a great honour to serve as ambassador to Her Majesty in France, and I warmly congratulate Her Majesty on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee, an incredible milestone.
“This summer’s celebrations are a chance to celebrate the long-standing links between Her Majesty and France and the rich shared history of our countries, and to look ahead to the future as close neighbours and global partners, taking up together our shared challenges.”
The 70th anniversary of the Queen’s reign is being marked in the UK from today with a ‘four-day weekend’, consisting of a bank holiday today, followed by the usual May Bank Holiday which has been moved forward from Monday to tomorrow (Friday). France Télévisions has coverage of the Jubilee today at several points during the day.
The Queen’s reign started on February 6, 1952, on the death of her father George VI, although her coronation ceremony was the following year, on June 2, 1953. June also sees the Queen’s official birthday, which always falls on the second Saturday in June (June 11, 2022).
Also marking the occasion, President Macron has offered gifts to the Queen, including one of the finest horses of the Republican Guard, called Fabuleu de Maucour, which he reportedly picked out himself.
The seven-year-old grey headed horse is said by the Elysée to be a typical example of French horse breeding, “representative of the French military horse and the traditions of French horsemanship”. President Macron is also offering a complete set of military horse tack (including saddle and bridle etc) and a Republican Guard sabre.
The gifts were chosen because of the Queen’s well-known love of horses.
For the #PlatinumJubilee, President @EmmanuelMacron, on behalf of France, pays tribute to HM The Queen by honouring her passion for horses. Fabuleu de Maucour, a "Selle Français", was presented today in #Windsor with a ceremonial saddle & a cavalry sabre. @RoyalFamily— French Embassy UK (@FranceintheUK) June 1, 2022
Jubilee celebrations in France started on Saturday last week with an aerial display at Le Touquet, and continued yesterday with the British Embassy’s traditional (invitation-only) Queen’s Birthday Party. Another highlight will be a Great British Tea Party, to be held in the gardens of the Ambassador’s residence on June 21, for the British community in France.
This autumn will also see the planting of a new row of 70 trees – for the Queen’s 70 years on the throne – at the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer (Calvados) in another mark of the shared history between the UK and France.
This is linked to the Queen’s wish that trees be planted in her Jubilee year in a project called The Queen’s Green Canopy.
See also June’s edition of The Connexion, for an interview with Dame Menna about the Jubilee and her first year so far as ambassador.