Just Back: Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee Celebration

Jordan Rhodes of Glimpse Guides + Goods and a Brownell Ambassador, has returned after attending Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations with Nicola Butler, owner of NoteWorthy. Here is her report.

There is nothing more quintessentially English than celebrating a Royal Jubilee, especially a Platinum Jubilee that has never happened before and will most likely never happen again. Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years on the throne during the first week in June, and with that brought parades, concerts, teas and Union flags everywhere you turned. I had the honor and privilege to take part in some of the festivities with Nicola Butler, owner of NoteWorthy.

From the moment I received my Jubilee invitation to the moment I departed London, all was seamlessly organized by NoteWorthy. Upon arrival in London from New York I checked into The Berkeley hotel where I was treated to a welcome bust of her majesty — made entirely out of chocolate. A most welcome treat indeed, and the kind of perk you only get from the Maybourne Hotel Group. First up on the itinerary for the weekend was “Trooping the Colour,” a ceremony marking the Queen’s official birthday.

The Royal Family arrives for the Horse Guards Parade by carriage.
The Royal Family arrives for the Horse Guards Parade by carriage. (Jordan Rhodes)

NoteWorthy hosted Virtuoso advisors and their clients and smoothly guided us straight through the crowds to our reserved seats. The group was clad in morning suits and millinery for a front-row viewing of the Queen’s Guard marching to their Massed Bands, while Prince Charles, Prince William and Princess Anne inspected their troops from horseback. The pageantry of the event was a truly remarkable sight. As the rest of the Royal Family processioned through the Horse Guards Parade by carriage, there were overwhelming cheers of delight from the surrounding crowds, and I couldn’t help but be impressed by the unity of the country. It was a true testament to the respect its citizens have for the Queen and her service.

Epsom Downs Derby.
Jordan Rhodes poses at the Epsom Downs Derby. (Jordan Rhodes )

Following “Trooping the Colour,” we ourselves marched across St. James Park to Wellington Barracks, home of The Queen’s Foot Guards, where we sipped champagne under a sky full of Royal Air Force planes flying in formation over Buckingham Palace. Particularly memorable was a group of 15 fighter jets forming the number "70" as they streaked across the sky, in honor of Her Majesty’s 70 years of reign. While we watched the spectacle, the Queen, just across the road at the palace, cheered on from the balcony beside her family…although Prince Louis and his antics ended up being the star of that moment, with later reports saying he was on a sugar high. I can concur he had been eating lots of cookies whenever I got a glimpse of him leaning out the window above the grounds at “Trooping the Colour,” about an hour before.

Royal Fly Past
A royal fly past: A group of 15 fighter jets formed the number 70 in the sky, in honor of Her Majesty’s 70 years of reign.  (Bronac McNeill)

After the Royal fly-past, a lovely lunch was set in the Guards Museum. Following the meal, our host led a toast to the Royal Family as we enjoyed our cheese and port. He also thanked NoteWorthy for their ongoing support to the museum and preservation of their history. The partnership allows clients the chance for special access during Changing of the Guard. It is something I have experienced firsthand, and recommend to every one of my travel clients.

The next day we all gathered again to head outside the city, where we were treated to cocktails and canapés at Windsor Castle, and had the honor of meeting the Governor of Windsor Castle. We even caught a glimpse of the Queen’s private apartments, with her cars parked out front. The grounds were empty, other than her soldiers marching around.

Windsor Castle
Soldiers marching around the Windsor Castle, the main residence of Queen Elizabeth II. (Jordan Rhodes)

After drinks, we entered St George’s Chapel, the site of Prince Phillip’s funeral and final resting place of many royals. We joined an excited small crowd of guests waiting to be entertained by a symphony orchestra, accompanied by a choir and a few well-known soloists. They played “God Save the Queen” amongst other traditional English songs, and the lady sitting next to me whispered, “This must be what heaven sounds like.” I could not have agreed more, and reluctantly headed back to my chauffeured car at the end of the night.

I woke up the next morning elated from the music the night before, and raring to go for a day at our next event, the Epsom Downs Derby. Outfitted in heels, high hopes and a new Phillip Treacy hat, I began another jaunt outside the city to the racecourse, where NoteWorthy had arranged full hospitality in the Queen’s Stand. As our group dined on a five-course meal prepared by Chef Michel Roux, I perused the racing pamphlet and plotted my betting strategy. I ended the day up £40 and had the best time in the process. It was exhilarating to be standing right at the finish line, with Princess Anne seated just above us. She arrived before the first race to much fanfare, exiting her vehicle directly onto the track in a delightful matching hat and jacket. The crowd was in great spirits, and the roar at the finish line is a sound I hope to hear again soon. 

Epsom Downs Derby
Princess Anne arriving for the Epsom Downs Derby. She exited her vehicle directly onto the track in a matching hat and jacket. (Jordan Rhodes)

After the Derby, our group retreated inside to afternoon tea, relishing our time together. It was the most perfect few days, and I couldn’t help but admire the way the British people all came together for one purpose: To celebrate their beloved Queen. It was the kind of community you just don’t see in other countries.

Nicola Butler owner NoteWorthy and Jordan Rhodes Founder Glimpse Guides Brownell
Nicola Butler, owner of NoteWorthy, and Jordan Rhodes enjoy a meal together. (Bronac McNeill)

The next day most of the group had to pack up and head home, but several stayed for a few more events, including Royal Ascot, Order of the Garter and some more touring around London and its surrounding areas. Once again, NoteWorthy was able to provide the kind of access most can only dream of, with an up-close view of more time-honored events. I felt quite spoiled from my time with Nic and her creative director Angela Tupper. I’m not sure I will ever be able to come to England as a “regular tourist” again.

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