Where to see the Queen's birthday beacons

Beacons will be lit tonight to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday.

Thursday, 21st April 2016, 8:18 am
Updated Thursday, 21st April 2016, 10:45 am
In this official photograph released by Buckingham Palace to mark her 90th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II is seen walking in the private grounds of Windsor Castle on steps at the rear of the East Terrace and East Garden with four of her dogs: clockwise from top left Willow (corgi), Vulcan (dorgie), Candy (dorgie) and Holly (corgi). © 2016 Annie Leibovitz / PA Wire

A chain of light in the south will form part of a network of a thousand beacons nationwide.

One will be illuminated at Southsea Castle at 8pm.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Frank Jonas, will light the beacon in front of guests including city residents who share the same birthday as the Queen.

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They have been invited by the city council, which has sent a message of congratulations to the Queen.

And a beacon will be lit at Portchester Castle at 7.30pm.

The fun starts at 5.30pm and there will be a range of free activities in the castle grounds, including live music from The Courtiers, food and drink, children’s games, face painting and make your own beacon.

People are urged to park at Portchester Precinct as there is very limited parking at Portchester Castle.

At Emsworth, the Queen’s birthday will be celebrated in the the annual St George’s Day march by 12 Regiment, from Thorney Island. Veterans will also join the parade.

It begins in Queens Street at 11am and will snake its way down to St Peter’s Square where the Mayor of Havant, Leah Turner, will take the salute and give out the Imjin Rose, to commemorate those who fought in the Korean War.

A 21-gun salute will also be fired from Gosport’s Fort Blockhouse at noon today to mark the Queen’s 90th birthday.

The Royal Navy salute is one of many taking place at military establishments across the country.

The event is one of six royal events marked annually with military gun salutes.

Traditional gun salutes and the illumination of the Houses of Parliament are also among the ways the nation is celebrating the Queen’s 90th.

The famous Parliament building at the heart of the country’s political system, where MPs will pay tribute, will be lit red, white and blue for the special royal anniversary from the evening until dawn on Friday.

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will ride their horses and gun carriages past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park to stage a 41 Gun Royal Salute at midday.

The Honourable Artillery Company will also drive through the city in their liveried Pinzgauer vehicles to the Tower of London to fire a 62 gun salute across the Thames at 1pm.

Bells will ring at Westminster Abbey, where the Queen was married and crowned, from 1pm.

In the evening of the Queen’s milestone anniversary, the newly 90 monarch will light a beacon - the first in a chain of more than 1,000 across Britain and the world.

Local authorities around the UK will host lighting events throughout the country to create a network of flames in celebration.

The beacons will be specially built gas-fuelled structures, traditional bonfires or braziers on top of a tall wooden post.

Members of the Army Cadet Force will be taking beacons to the top of the four highest peaks in the United Kingdom - Ben Nevis in Scotland, Mount Snowdon in Wales, Scafell Pike in England, and Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland.

Pageant master Bruno Peek, who was responsible for the diamond jubilee beacons, has been overseeing the plans.

Heir to the throne the Prince of Wales has written a message to beacon lighters.

“It is a wonderful gesture which I know has deeply touched Her Majesty,” Charles wrote.

“Beacons are to be lit on mountaintops, on beaches, in farmyards and on church towers, uniting us all in our heartfelt appreciation of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the United Kingdom and other Realms, and to the Commonwealth.”

There is a long and unbroken tradition of celebrating royal jubilees, weddings, coronations and birthdays in this way.

In Edinburgh, a firework display will be staged over the Royal Yacht Britannia.