As the first day of the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend drew to a close, hundreds gathered in Cardiff Bay as a beacon was lit in as part of nationwide celebrations. The torch outside the Pierhead Building is one of more than 2,000 that were set alight simultaneously across the UK and British overseas territories, as well as in all 54 Commonwealth capital cities – stretching from Tonga and Samoa in the South Pacific, all the way across the globe to Belize in Central America – in honour of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.
All beacons in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man were lit at 9.45pm on Thursday, June 2, and in Cardiff a short firework display marked the end of the lighting ceremony. There were events earlier in the day in the capital in the run-up: a Royal 21-gun salute at noon also in the Bay kicked off the Jubilee celebrations, with crowds watching in the Oval Basin. Then, at 2pm, there was a “proclamation” from town criers announcing the lighting of the beacons later on.
The hundreds that gathered for the lighting ceremony in the evening were also treated to a programme 30 minutes of military music from The Regimental Band and Corps of Drums of The Royal Welsh.
Patricia Rees, who is from Grangetown, her daughter Louise Scott and her grandson David Scott had been in Cardiff Bay since 10am on Thursday to celebrate the Jubilee. “We’ve seen everything that went on in the basin. The choir was absolutely fantastic – I love the choir. We’ve just come because it’s the nearest we can get to the celebrations going on down in London.
“My grandson absolutely idolises the Queen – we all do, really.” Patricia, who is 76, said she remembers the Queen’s coronation 70 years ago. “I was there celebrating. I had my [coronation] mug, right up until 1966, but I don’t know what happened to it.” Asked what she would say if she could speak to the Queen now, Patricia said: “God bless you, my darling. You are wonderful. She is absolutely wonderful.”
Dr Aruna Acharjya travelled from Pontypridd for the ceremony. She said it had been an “amazing time” watching the Queen while growing up in Wales. “She’s been honouring her post and she’s anointed by God as the Queen and I’ve been watching that throughout my life.
“It’s really an honour to mark this great occasion of the 70th year of her reign and her service to the people of England, Wales and the Commonwealth. And of course India is part of the Commonwealth, where I was born.” Asked what she would say to the Queen, she said: “Your love to your people is very clear. Thank you for your service.”
In Wales, beacons were also lit in the Queen Elizabeth II playing fields in Newport, Coity Castle in Bridgend, and Penderyn Square Merthyr Tydfil, among many others. You can see the full list of locations here. The ceremony built on a tradition of lighting beacons to mark significant royal celebrations. Beacons have previously been lit to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and the Queen’s Silver, Golden, and Diamond Jubilees, as well as her 90th birthday. To get more stories like this sent straight to your inbox every single day, click here.