Queen Elizabeth‘s Platinum Anniversary celebrations are until their fourth and last day.
But for an Aussie, they certainly saved the best for last.
Perth’s Blandine Blanchard performs in ‘The People’s Pageant’ during the Queen’s Coronation route through London.
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It will cover the two-mile route from Whitehall, via The Mall to Buckingham Palace, and is something that will leave the 28-year-old bursting with excitement.
“There’s an insane amount of respect that goes to the Queen, as everyone says ‘oh hope she sees’, ‘is she coming?’ that’s the dialogue we hear between all the workers, even the artists,” Blanchard tells 9Honey.
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“If you’re practicing, they’ll be like, ‘Oh, I wonder if she can see this from her balcony?’ People ask like ‘what does it look like from a distance?’
“It’s so nice to hear that, because we are very proud [in our work] and especially with the young people who may not be as experienced as other performers they really give it their all to make sure they get the hang of their routine and in sync with all the other performers – it’s pretty fun to watch it’s definitely unusual.
“I think she’ll definitely put on a good show, the Queen, if she sticks her head out,” she laughs.
The Queen is rumored to be sticking her head out, with reports of a second balcony performance at Buckingham Palace to conclude the post-election jubilee celebrations.
And despite living in the UK for eight years, it’s a prospect that keeps this Aussie outside of herself.
“It would be my first time seeing her in person – I’ve always seen them drive by before…but to actually see her on her balcony would be wild,” Blanchard tells 9Honey.
“I’d definitely call my family to say I actually saw her — I’m not saying she’s going to be going anytime soon, but I have a feeling this might be one of the last big hoo-has.”
Blanchard, who has worked with Mahogany Carnival Arts for the past five years, has done a number of major parades before, including London’s massive Notting Hill Carnival.
However, she says the feeling here is definitely different.
“I think when we do Notting Hill we always think of our own little town or some kind of little suburb, when in that sense this is a whole nation [and] it will be broadcast all over the world,” she says of the pageant, which will be watched by a billion people worldwide.
“It’s much deeper in its meaning,” adds Blanchard, pointing out not only the historic value of the Queen’s Jubilee, but also the first time the artists have really reunited en masse since 2019.
“I think in so many ways we’ve been through so much over the years. It’s just an honor to celebrate an achievement, you know.”
Leading up to the big day, Blanchard has been busy making costumes and painting large-scale bamboo skirts, but on the day the artist will turn into an artist…and a giraffe.
†[It’s] quite unusual,” she laughs.
“And certainly something I don’t think the Queen would expect, but it will be a beautiful giraffe — they’ll have little top hats, little glasses, they’ll dress up for the special occasion.”
The specially constructed costume will be over six feet high and is made with fiberglass rods, so it’s light enough for the performers to wear for hours on end.
†[It] has a bit of a hook system that makes a head move so it looks like it’s actually alive and these heads are huge – maybe not life size for a normal giraffe’s head, maybe a bit more cartoonish and bloated but nonetheless it could have been seen over crowds.”
So while you’re watching the parade, keep an eye out for this Australian giraffe.
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