The normal ebb and flow of British life gives way over the next few days to celebrate a series of UK street parties, flotillas, outdoor concerts and finally the appearance of Queen Elizabeth II, who is marking 60 years on the throne.
She was born in London on April 21, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary wasn't supposed to be queen. However, her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated to wed American divorcee Wallace Simpson, 10-year-old Princess Elizabeth suddenly became heir apparent to the British throne.
The queen is the constitutional monarch of 16 sovereign states known as the British Commonwealth realms, and head of the 54-member Commonwealth of Nations. She is also head of state of the Crown Dependencie.
Celebratory concerts will include Sir Elton John and Stevie Wonder, to name just two.