As the UK gears up for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations feting the queen’s amazing 60-year reign, the public—in true eccentric British style—will mark the June occasion in some creative ways, featuring whisky, airplanes, a miniature royal family . . . and, er, toast!
The airline British Midland International marked the 60-day countdown with an attempt at the world record for the highest tea party. At 38,000ft between London and Edinburgh, customers received free party food and drinks, with patriotic bunting and balloons. The flight coincided with the launch of the airline’s new menu, its seasonal dishes inspired by the upcoming celebrations and thus including Coronation Chicken, Royal Potatoes and Queen of Puddings.
Not to be outdone, Legoland Windsor® Resort’s famous Miniland has installed a 10cm-high animated model of the queen, complete with a real diamond-encrusted crown. Specially commissioned by award-winning jewellery designer Dinny Hall, the 1.5cm-tall crown is made of silver, coated with rhodium and festooned with 48 tiny cut diamonds fit for a queen.
The model, displayed on the balcony of the Miniland re-creation of Buckingham Palace, will be joined by the Miniland Royal Family, including Prince Charles and the duchess of Cornwall, the duke and duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The queen will greet guests with a regal wave from 24 May until the Jubilee celebrations end.
Meanwhile, malt whisky specialists Gordon & MacPhail has released a rare single-malt Glen Grant whisky. As one of the world’s longest-aged whiskies, only 85 bottles of Glen Grant 60 Years Old are being sold worldwide. Distilled on 2 February 1952, just four days before the queen ascended the throne, it was bottled on the same day exactly 60 years later.
The decanter, at a pricey £8,000, is nestled in purple Harris Tweed, which lines a hand-crafted box made of Scottish Elm from Holyrood House, the queen’s official Scottish residence. With an aroma of Cox’s Pippins and Granny Smith apples, and laced with cinnamon and root ginger, it comes in a pyramid-shaped crystal decanter embellished with a diamond-shaped stopper, complete with a certificate of authenticity.
Art students from Sussex Coast College have also planned a special British treat—an art installation of 8,300 pieces of toast, each bearing an image of the queen’s head. Appropriately entitled “Queen on Toast”, it took the students three weeks to break up the 420 loaves used in the artwork. The bread was then screen-printed using acrylic ink, toasted and sprayed with hairspray to preserve it for up to three years, and finally stuck to the wall.
Led by Canadian artist Myles Calvert, and inspired by an image of the virgin Mary on a piece of cheese on toast sold on E-bay for $28,000, Calvert felt that toast, a British staple, is just as iconic as the queen’s image.
“It is fitting that the queen, as an iconic figure, should be given this status in her Jubilee year”, he said. For a small donation, visitors to the exhibition can take away their very own piece of toast. Just remember not to eat your slice of the queen.