LONDON (AP) – When Ajay Chabra was asked to design a contest to celebrate the platinum anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II, …
LONDON (AP) – When Ajay Chabra was asked to create a contest to celebrate the platinum anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II, he knew it would be the perfect centerpiece: a cake.
Not just any cake, but the wedding cake of Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947. The four-tiered, nine-foot (2.7-meter) confectionery at the time was dubbed the “10,000-mile cake” because it was whipped with sugar, dried fruit, rum and brandy from all over the Commonwealth, from South Africa. from the Caribbean to Australia and the South Pacific.
Chabra, a second-generation British Indian with Fijian heritage, wanted to use his part of Sunday’s anniversary competition to highlight how the Queen, through her historic 70 years on the throne, has united generations of Commonwealth citizens from such distant places as Fiji.
“We are not recreating the Queen’s wedding in 1947, but creating a kind of tribute to all the people and all the diversity that Britain has produced,” he said.
On Sunday, more than 200 performers in bright saris will dance to Bollywood tunes around a moving six-foot (20-foot) version of the Queen’s wedding cake, running from a hidden electric car. The top tier depicts the queen’s favorite corgi holding the crown up, popping up and sinking on the hydraulic system.
All dancers between the ages of 9 and 79 have a Commonwealth heritage.
“All these young people … they don’t see the world or ‘being British’ the way we or our parents saw it,” Chabra said.
His Bollywood-themed wedding party is just one of many colorful events marching through the mall to Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday, the finale of a tense four-day celebration dedicated to the monarch’s platinum anniversary.
More than 10,000 people from the UK and Commonwealth countries took part in the competition, which is expected to see 1 billion people worldwide.
The spectacle opens with a military showcase, followed by a procession with carnival music, three-story beasts, Scottish bagpipes, stunt cyclists, grass dancers and dozens of puppet puppets – all of which tell the story of the Queen’s reign in their own way.
The competition will run a three-kilometer (almost two miles) route and end in front of Buckingham Palace, where crowds will sing “God Save the Queen”. Singers Ed Sheeran, Shirley Bessie and Cliff Richard will be among the celebrities who pay tribute.
It’s a big holiday moment, and the film’s directors are reluctant to discuss more controversial aspects of Britain’s heritage in many Commonwealth countries. In the Caribbean, in particular, the Commonwealth is increasingly characterized by fragmentation rather than unity.
Prince William and his wife Kate were met with protests against slavery in March during a royal tour of the Caribbean, and the Jamaican prime minister directly told the couple that the country intends to “move on” and remove the queen from the presidency after Barbados moved to last year.
The organizers of the competition emphasize that the event is “popular”, focusing on how ordinary people are connected “through time, with each other and with the queen.”
This is the bond that Chabra acutely feels in his family. He says the queen is a symbol of continuity that unites his mother’s generation with his little daughter’s generation, regardless of the time and distance that separate them.
“When I look at the founding history of my mother, 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 waved flags to greet her, ”he said. “It’s a fascinating story that she brought from Fiji to London in the 1960s.”
His 9-year-old daughter will take part in Sunday’s competition – an event that will be her story, which she will tell future generations.
“In a world where everything is very temporary and polarized, I think there are few things that bring us together,” Chabra said.
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