For those of us who live and breathe British pop culture, London is already the center of the universe. But this summer, the city will dominate our attentions like never before. The Queen‘s Jubilee will kick off two months of unrelenting focus on Britain’s capital, leading up to the globe’s biggest sporting event, the Olympics. From the music to the movies, the fashions to the arts, each week we’ll be highlighting the best that London has on offer this summer. The Brit List‘s Asha Leo (@AshaLeo, see photo at right) will be the on-air host of 60-second roundups on BBC America, with BBC America talent including Idris Elba chiming in with their London picks of the summer.
Jay-Z and Beyoncé notwithstanding, one thing London has that New York doesn’t is its own homegrown royalty, who will be on display this weekend in the Queen’s Jubilee, a celebration of Her Majesty’s astonishing 60-year reign. There will be charming hats on display known as “fascinators,” a boat race on the Thames, and a concert featuring Sirs Paul McCartney and Elton John.
With May’s bank holiday moved to Monday, June 4 and an extra day off for the entire country on June 5, the extended four-day weekend is the heart of the Jubilee celebration, but by no means all of it. Many observances have already started or taken place: there was the pageant at Windsor, school kids lit up the façade of Buckingham Palace with an art project tribute to the Queen, and a glittering array of artists and celebrities attended a kick-off reception last week. Members of the royal family, including Her Majesty, have been making special Jubilee trips for the last several months, and two weeks ago, royalty from around the world paid their respects to Elizabeth by traveling to London.
“I think anyone looking at Britain from abroad,” says People magazine’s royal correspondent Simon Perry, “can appreciate the longevity of her reign and how she has been a figure on the world stage for six decades. That makes her one of the most recognizable people in the world.”
Here’s our look at a royal summer that won’t soon be forgotten.