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What's on during Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee weekend

1:57 PM, May 30, 2012   |    comments
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(CNN) -- Excitement is building for what are expected to be jubilant festivities to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne.

The flags are already out across the United Kingdom and CNN will be at the heart of action as the country gears up for a long weekend of revelry from June 2-5.

CNN International will be covering all the key events online and on air, but if you're planning to join in the fun, here is a guide to what's happening.

Diamond Jubilee weekend

June 2, 2012 -- Epsom Derby

The queen will attend the Epsom Derby, the pinnacle of the English flat racing season, bringing together the best horses from around the country -- and even further afield -- to compete for a purse of more than $2 million.

June 3, 2012 -- The Big Jubilee Lunch: People across the nation share lunches or picnics with neighbors and friends in an organized effort to bring communities together in celebration of the queen.

London hosts The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant, a 1,000-boat flotilla will parade down the River Thames from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge with the royal barge leading the way. This tribute to the queen and Britain's maritime history will be the largest fleet ever assembled on the river.

There will also be a Diamond Jubilee Festival at Battersea Park which overlooks the start of the royal procession down the river. Fun for all the family -- it will include music, feasting and fair games.

Jubilee concert/Beacon lighting

June 4, 2012 -- Diamond jubilee concert

Buckingham Palace will host a Diamond Jubilee Concert on Monday afternoon. With music master Gary Barlow organizing, the musical extravaganza will bring some of the biggest names in pop together including Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Jools Holland, Jessie J, JLS and Elton John to name a few.

Later that night, over 2,000 beacons will be lit across the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, the Commonwealth and UK overseas territories to celebrate the special occasion. The queen will light the National Beacon as she did during the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002.

June 5, 2012 -- Service of Thanksgiving and Carriage Procession

The final day of this spectacular royal weekend commences with a National Service of Thanksgiving in St Paul's Cathedral. A prayer has been written specially for the event, which will be attended by the queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the royal family.

Later, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will join the queen and Prince Philip for a Diamond Jubilee lunch provided at Westminster Hall.

Following their meal, a carriage procession will convey the royal party to Buckingham palace. Their route will take them from Whitehall, past Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and straight on to the official London residence of the British sovereign

Following their meal, a carriage procession will convey the royal party to Buckingham palace. Their route will take them from Whitehall past Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and straight on to the official London residence of the British sovereign.

Upon return to the palace, there will be a 60-gun salute from the King's Troop followed by the Royal Family's appearance on the balcony where they will watch a feu de Joie (a rifle salute by The Queen's Guard) and a Royal Air Force flypast.

Key players

This year we have already seen the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Rowan Williams deliver the "Motion for an Humble Address on the occasion of Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee" in the House of Lords.

During the central Diamond Jubilee weekend itself we will see most of the royal family in attendance as well as political heads like British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. It is also likely we will see familiar faces such as former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Getting around the city

Travel around London is expected to be difficult and use of public transport is advised as many roads and bridges will be closed due to ongoing special events. Transport for London (TFL) has suggested avoiding travel through the city center if you are not attending an event, particularly on June 3. They also advise buying travel tickets in advance to avoid long waits in lines. For more information on traveling to specific events, check the TFL website.

What's next

During the Diamond Jubilee year, the queen has embarked on a tour of the United Kingdom traveling as widely as possible. With the help of other members of the royal family including Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate and Princess Beatrice. After the celebrations of in June, the queen will continue on her tour visiting a variety of stops in Britain and Scotland.

The queen has also asked her family to represent her on trips abroad. We've already seen Prince Harry journey to The Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica where he "beat" the world's fastest man Usain Bolt. Additionally, the Princess Royal recently returned from South Africa and Mozambique.

Other members of the royal family to undertake trips to Commonwealth countries, Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories will include Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall; Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge; Prince Andrew, the Duke of York; The Earl and Countess of Wessex; the Duke of Gloucester and the Duke of Kent.


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