In June, the nation will come together to celebrate the Queen as she becomes the first British monarch to mark a Platinum Jubilee and as part of her commemoration, Her Majesty is holding a special Big Jubilee Lunch to recognise the importance of community spirit.
On Friday, the preparations for the Big Jubilee Lunch began and the Queen opened the gates of Buckingham Palace to presenter and broadcaster Mel Giedroyc, who hosted a special Big Jubilee Lunch event with ten seasoned party planners.
WATCH: Sophie Wessex plants Jubilee trees at Buckingham Palace
At the event, which took place in the palace gardens, the specialist planners came from all over the country to discuss their top party-planning tips with Mel for the big weekend.
More than 12 million people across the country are planning to mark this once-in-a-lifetime occasion with street parties and community celebrations, so it's great to see the experts are on-hand to help with the planning.
The Queen welcomed guests from around the UK including Penzance, Northampton, Aberdeen and Fermanagh
Speaking from Buckingham Palace, Mel said: "I'm thrilled by all the fantastic top tips I've heard today. It’s been a joy to share this special moment with these inspiring people here in the Buckingham Palace Gardens.
"The Big Jubilee Lunch is something that everyone can be part of, it's about having fun and making connections – and I think we are all ready for a good old knees-up!
"Anyone, anywhere can be part of The Big Jubilee Lunch, whether that’s a cuppa on your doorstep, a BBQ in your back yard, or a full-blown street party – it's easy to take part."
Not even the rain could interfere with the epic party planning
Not even the rain could slow them down as Mel sat alongside the expert planners at trestle tables, who all had their umbrellas up. The team discussed how to get the neighbours involved, fun group games to play, recipe suggestions and ideas for street decorations.
Amongst the planners was Imtiaz Ali, who has lived on the same street in Stoke Newington his entire life and has been organising Big Lunches since the start of the initiative in 2009.
Feed Me Good organiser Nureen Glaves was also at the event, and gave her expert advice on cooking on a budget.
The former Bake Off host sliced into some cake
Nureen, who's from Shepherd's Bush, also offered up simple recipe ideas for shareable food that goes further - perfect for neighbourhood street parties.
Peter Stewart, Executive Director of The Big Lunch initiative, said: "The Big Lunch has been bringing neighbours and communities together on the first weekend in June for over a decade and what an extra special year 2022 is going to be!
"With only two months to go until a once in a lifetime event, now is the time to gather your neighbours, rally your road, and get ready to celebrate this historic moment together."
Mel was full of life after the exciting event
After the event concluded, the former Great British Bake off host was effervescent with excitement and told PA media: "I have come away on a bit of a buzz because it is so easy these days to just think the world is a really bad place.
"We are all on our news feeds the whole time, and it is just this awful stuff coming through, whether it is to do with Covid or Ukraine or whatever it is.
"And actually, it is really nice to take a couple of hours out in the morning to be with people like this. They are gritty, they are positive, they are life-affirming, and they are doing these amazing things in their community – and that is what we are celebrating.
The Jubilee weekend is the 2 to 5 June
"I was very honoured to be invited to be there with them. It was hilarious. The bants (banter) were very strong around the table. We need each other at the moment.
She added: "To celebrate community and living close by our fellow human beings is a really, really important thing."
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