Delhi-based environmentalist Sunita Narain received a special mention from Britain’s Prince William in his tribute to Queen Elizabeth II during London’s platinum jubilee celebrations marking 70 years of the reign of the 96-year-old monarch.
Speaking at a Grand Jubilee Party at the Palace on a 360-degree stage outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday night, Prince William focused his message on the environment, recognizing “the monumental and pioneering work of so many visionary environmentalists”.
He said: “I think of Rachel Carson from America, Wangari Maathai from Kenya, Sunita Narain from India and so many others. Although no one’s grandmother thanks them for talking about their age, my own grandmother has been alive for almost a century. humanity benefited from unimaginable technological advances and scientific breakthroughs.”
I’m overwhelmed to be called by #Prince William and to be in the company of the great. It gives me courage and recognizes our work on environmental justice and the need for urgent action https://t.co/R07Q6UacXO
— Sunita Narain (@sunitanar) June 5, 2022
Prince William’s speech was followed by his father, Prince Charles, who paid tribute to his mother’s “life of selfless service”.
“Your Majesty, you have been with us in our difficult times. You bring us together to celebrate moments of pride, joy and happiness. Perhaps this year is really coming home. You have met and spoken to us. You laugh and cry with us and, most importantly, you’ve been there for us for 70 years. You promised to serve all your life – you continue to deliver,” said Prince Charles.
The Queen was not present at Saturday’s concert, but participated in a pre-recorded comic strip with Paddington Bear to open the concert.
In it, she is seen sharing a chaotic English cream tea at Buckingham Palace with the world-famous fictional bear who slurps tea straight from the teapot and accidentally squirts cream at the royal footman.
The cartoon character then reveals that he always carries an emergency supply of his favorite treat, a marmalade sandwich, and offers it to the Queen.
Smiling and laughing, the Queen opens her own purse to reveal her own sandwich and says, “I’ll keep mine here”.
The star-studded concert saw 22,000 people flock to The Mall Road, leading to Buckingham Palace, to enjoy performances by a range of musical artists, as well as performances by the stars of the stage and screen, and the sporting world.
There were songs by Sir Elton John, George Ezra, Craig David, Duran Duran, Alicia Keys and Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder, while Sir Rod Stewart’s performance of ‘Sweet Caroline’ had all the royals rocking in their seats.
There was also an overview of British and Commonwealth sporting achievements by actor and rapper Doc Brown and the show concluded by Diana Ross, with her first live performance in the UK in 15 years.
The last day of the anniversary celebration on Sunday will conclude with a grand spectacle near Buckingham Palace.
The Platinum Jubilee Pageant – a carnival parade through The Mall featuring giant dolls and celebrities – will depict key moments from the Queen’s seven decades on the throne.
It features a Bollywood themed Wedding Party segment created by South Asian art group Nutkhut. It will feature a six-foot four-tier cake inspired by the Queen’s royal wedding to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1947, with each tier representing the silver, gold, diamond and platinum anniversaries of the monarch’s reign .
The Wedding Party is performed in an elaborate style by 250 performers of all ages, from London, Birmingham, Leicester, Manchester, Southampton and Newcastle. Nutkhut says the spirit of the Commonwealth will flow through his specially designed Platinum Jubilee saree, a key feature of the achievement and composed of sustainable organic fabric.
Thousands of street parties are also held in the UK in what is called the Big Jubilee Lunch.
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