As the anniversary of The Queen’s 70 years on the throne approaches, excitement is growing for the 270 volunteers that will be taking part in the official Platinum Jubilee Pageant in London on June 5.
Shademakers, the internationally acclaimed carnival company based in Ryde will be travelling with volunteer performers and musicians to represent the Queen’s Beasts, a panoply of creatures, each representing a different nation of the UK. With more than a hundred costumes they will represent the animals of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, led by lions in each country’s heraldry.
The English section has swans, peacocks, ravens, falcons and dancing roses. The Scottish section has unicorns, Scottish dancers, bagpipes and drums. The Welsh section has a dragon, chickens, pigs and sheep. The Northern Irish section features a snake, an Irish wolfhound and a bull. During her coronation in 1952 the then Princess Elizabeth walked past ten heraldic beasts as she entered Westminster Abbey, and these will be portrayed by ten knights on horseback. They will all dance to the rhythms of drums and pipes from across the world, representing the countries of the Commonwealth.
In one of their final dress rehearsals at the Island Riding Club, the IW Observer caught up with the team and witnessed some of the incredible costumes that will entertain the crowds, and hopefully Her Majesty herself.
A spokesman for the company said: “Shademakers UK are incredibly honoured to be representing the Isle of Wight in this once in a lifetime opportunity at The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant. Performers and musicians from the Island will parade the streets of London telling the story of the Queen’s Heraldic Beasts. From the humble farmyard animals to the epic mythical beasts, the creatures have been designed by Paul McLaren, our artistic director and created by a small team of makers at our studios at Department, Ryde.”