LONDON ( Associated Press) – When Ajay Chhabra was asked to design a pageant performance to celebrate the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, he knew what would make the perfect centerpiece: cake.
Not just any cake, but Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 1947 wedding cake. The four-tier, nine-foot (2.7-m) confection was called “10,000-mile cake” at the time because it was whipped with sugar, dried fruits, rum and brandy from all corners of the Commonwealth, from South Africa. From the Caribbean to Australia and the South Pacific.
Chhabra, a second-generation British Indian with Fijian heritage, wanted to use her segment of Sunday’s Jubilee pageant to highlight how the Queen, through her historic 70 years of thrones, has served generations of Commonwealth citizens as Fiji. united from far flung places.
“We are not recreating the Queen’s 1947 wedding, but paying tribute to it in a way, with all the people of Britain and all the diversity,” he said.
On Sunday, over 200 actors in vibrant saris will dance to Bollywood tunes around a six-metre-long (20-feet high) version of the Queen’s wedding cake, propelled by a hidden electric vehicle. Its top level, featuring the presentation of the Queen’s beloved corgis atop a crown, pops up and down on a hydraulic system.
The dancers, aged between 9 and 79, all have Commonwealth heritage.
Chhabra said, “All those young people… they don’t see the world or ‘being British’ the way we saw it, or our parents.”
Their Bollywood-themed wedding party is one of many colorful acts to be paraded from the Mall to Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday, culminating in a four-day weekend of festivities marking the monarch’s platinum jubilee.
More than 10,000 people from across the UK and Commonwealth have participated in the creation of the pageant, which is expected to be viewed by 1 billion people worldwide.
A military showcase pageant opens, followed by a procession of carnival music, a medley of three-story-high animals, Scottish bagpipers, stunt cyclists, maypole dancers and dozens of animal puppets – all of the Queen’s reign in her own right. Story telling. ways.
The competition will travel three kilometers (about two miles) and end in front of Buckingham Palace, where the crowd will sing “God Save the Queen”. Singers Ed Sheeran, Shirley Bassey and Cliff Richard will be among the celebrities paying tribute.
It is a moment of huge celebration, and the director of the competition has been unwilling to discuss the more controversial aspects of Britain’s heritage in many Commonwealth countries. In the Caribbean, in particular, the Commonwealth has been characterized not by unity, but by fragmentation.
Prince William and his wife, Kate, were greeted with anti-slavery protests during a royal tour of the Caribbean in March, and Jamaica’s prime minister explicitly told the couple that the country should “move on” and head of state. As intends to remove the queen. , after the move to Barbados last year.
The organizers of the pageant emphasize that the event is a “people’s spectacle”, focusing on how ordinary people have become “connected through time, to each other and to the Queen”.
It is a connection that Chhabra feels immensely in his family. He says the queen is the epitome of continuity that connects her mother’s generation with her young daughter, even as time and distance separate the two.
“When I look at the story of my mother’s foundation, she was 9 years old when the Queen came to Fiji during her tour of the South Pacific in 1953. You know, she and all her school friends came to welcome her Flags were waving,” he said. “It’s an exciting story that she brought with her from Fiji to London in the 1960s.”
His 9-year-old daughter will take part in Sunday’s competition – an event that will become his story to tell for generations to come.
“In a world where things are so temporary and polarized, I think there are certain things that bring us closer together,” Chhabra said.
Follow all Associated Press stories from Britain’s royal family at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii
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