More than 2,800 Platinum Jubilee beacons will be lit around the world in commemoration of the Queen’s 70-year reign.
The Queen will symbolically lead the lighting of the principal Jubilee beacon as part of a chain of more than 3,500 flaming tributes to her 70-year reign.
The Tower of London, Windsor Great Park, Hillsborough Castle, Lambeth Palace, and the Queen’s estates of Sandringham and Balmoral will be among the locations of the UK’s flaming tributes, with beacons at historic sites.
The first beacons have already been lit thousands of miles away in Tonga and Samoa in the South Pacific.
Beacons will then be lit through Asia, followed by the 19 African Commonwealth member states, then Europe, and the Caribbean and Americas, with the final one in the Central American country of Belize in the Caribbean.
But where will your nearest beacon be, and when will it be lit?
Here is everything you need to know.
Where is my nearest beacon?
The Scouts have erected at least 70 beacons around the United Kingdom in honour of their patron, the Queen, from Cornwall in the south-west to the Highlands and Islands, Merthyr Tydfil in Wales, and the Norfolk Broads in the east.
Girlguiding will also light up to 70 beacons, while Walking With The Wounded will light beacons atop the UK’s four highest peaks: Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, Mount Snowdon, and Slieve Donard.
Thousands of beacons are being lit around the United Kingdom; if you wish to attend a local ceremony in person, visit the government website to find your nearest beacon lighting event or other Platinum Jubilee events.
Further afield, beacons will be illuminated in all 54 Commonwealth capitals for the first time, covering five continents.
What time will they be lit?
The ‘Proclamation,’ which heralds the lighting of beacons later that evening, was announced by town criers at 2pm today.
Then, at 9.35pm towns with pipers or bands are invited to perform ‘Diu Regnare’ in a central area of their choosing.
Piper Stuart Liddell, 2020 Glenfiddich Champion and Pipe Major of the World Champion Pipe Band, composed the piece especially for the Jubilee.
Bugle and cornet players are being asked to deliver a special bugle call at 9.40 pm. to herald the ceremonial lighting of the beacons.
Finally, at 9.45pm local time, beacons will be illuminated across the UK.
As the beacons are lit, choirs of all sizes will perform the ‘Song For The Commonwealth’, the winner of a Commonwealth-wide competition held just a few months ago.
What is the Queen’s part in the lighting ceremony?
The monarch, 96, will make an appearance at Windsor Castle late on Thursday evening.
She will symbolically lead the lighting of the principal Jubilee beacon as part of a chain of more than 3,500 flaming tributes to her 70-year reign.
It forms part of special dual ceremony with her grandson the Duke of Cambridge.
William will be waiting 22 miles away at the Palace, where the beacon centrepiece – a 21-metre Tree of Trees sculpture – will be illuminated in lights on the Queen’s command.
At Windsor, the Queen will be greeted in the castle Quadrangle with a fanfare for the ceremony at the Sovereign’s Entrance.
The Commonwealth of Nations Globe – a blue globe, which sits inside a silver crown on a blue and gold cushion which was specially created for the Beacons project – will be placed on a podium by Yeoman Warders.
The Queen will touch the globe, symbolically triggering the lighting of the Tree of Trees beacon outside the Palace.
Lights will chase along the Quadrangle towards Windsor’s famous Round Tower, before travelling up the Tree of Trees in London.
The Queen will be joined by Bruno Peek, who has overseen the Jubilee Beacons celebration.
What else is happening?
As well as traditional beacons organised by charities, community groups, councils and other organisations, creative adaptations of the gesture are being staged to commemorate the monarch’s milestone.
The world’s longest public artwork, titled ‘Illuminated River’, will be lit up with a jubilant sequence of evolving colour and light, spanning nine key London bridges across the River Thames.
Several English cathedrals, including Durham, Ely, Lichfield, Peterborough, and Rochester, will light up the night sky in red, white, and blue, while London’s BT Tower will also participate.