Driving around Brentwood, Ongar and all the surrounding villages this week it’s been wonderful to see homes, lamp-posts, railings and streets bedecked with flags, bunting and pictures of Her Majesty the Queen as we prepare to celebrate a truly historic event - a Platinum Jubilee. Earlier this year Her Majesty overtook Johann II of Liechtenstein (1858-1929) as the third longest reigning monarch in history and later this month she will overtake Rama IX of Thailand (1946-2016) to become the second (she will need to reign another two years to overtake Louis XIV of France (1643-1715)).
Having dedicated her life to public service and as Britain’s longest serving monarch, it’s entirely appropriate that a series of events is being held to mark Her Majesty’s jubilee.
Over the extra long four-day Bank Holiday weekend, there is an extensive programme of events taking place including: the Queen's Birthday Parade (Trooping the Colour), a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral, and a Platinum Party at Buckingham Palace. Spectacular moments in London and other major cities will be complemented by events in communities across the UK and the Commonwealth, allowing people to join together in celebration and thanks at a national and local level.
I’m just too young to have been involved in the Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977, but greatly enjoyed celebrating the Golden and Diamond Jubilees and am very much looking forward to all that our part of the world has to offer this week.
I know most villages are holding events of one kind or another, from a picnic and fireworks in Ingatestone, to the beacon lighting in Herongate and Ingrave, a family fun day in North Weald, and all kinds of activities in Brentwood and Ongar town centres.
I hope you find ways to mark this momentous occasion, and take time to enjoy the company of family, friends and neighbours whilst celebrating - and giving thanks for - the 70-year reign of our outstanding and enduring monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.