Not just any cake: A Bollywood tribute to the Queen for the anniversary | lifestyles

By SYLVIA HUI – Associated Press

LONDON (AP) – When Ajay Chhabra was asked to design a pageant performance to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum jubilee, he knew what would be the perfect centerpiece: cake.

Not just any cake, but Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 1947 wedding cake. The four-tiered, 9-foot-long confection was called “the 10,000-mile cake” at the time because it was made with sugar, dried fruit, rum and brandy all corners of the Commonwealth, from South Africa, to the Caribbean to Australia and the South Pacific.

Chhabra, a second-generation British Indian of Fijian heritage, wanted his segment of Sunday’s jubilee competition to highlight how the Queen, during her historic 70 years on the throne, united generations of Commonwealth citizens from places as far afield as Fiji.

“We’re not recreating the Queen’s 1947 wedding, we’re creating a kind of homage to her, with all the people and all the diversity that Britain has produced,” he said.

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On Sunday, more than 200 performers in bright saris will dance to Bollywood tunes around a moving six-metre tall version of the Queen’s wedding cake, powered by a hidden electric vehicle. Its top level, which features a rendition of the Queen’s beloved corgis holding up a crown, bounces up and down on a hydraulic system.

The dancers, who range in age from 9 to 79, are all of Commonwealth heritage.

“All these young people … they don’t see the world or ‘being British’ the way we do or our parents do,” Chhabra said.

His Bollywood wedding celebration is just one of many colorful performances parading down the Mall to Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday, the finale of a busy four-day weekend of celebrations to mark the monarch’s platinum anniversary.

More than 10,000 people from across the UK and Commonwealth were involved in the production of the pageant, which is expected to be seen by 1 billion people around the world.

A military display case opens the spectacle, followed by a procession featuring a medley of carnival music, three-story beasts, Scottish bagpipers, stunt cyclists, maypole dancers and dozens of animal puppets – all telling the story of the Queen’s reign in their own ways.

The pageant will cover a three kilometer route and will end in front of Buckingham Palace where the crowd will sing “God Save the Queen”. Singers Ed Sheeran, Shirley Bassey and Cliff Richard will be among the celebrities paying tribute.

It’s a big celebratory moment and the pageant’s directors aren’t keen on discussing the more contentious aspects of Britain’s heritage in many Commonwealth countries. In the Caribbean in particular, the Commonwealth is increasingly characterized by fragmentation rather than unity.

Prince William and his wife Kate were greeted with anti-slavery protests during a royal tour of the Caribbean in March, and Jamaica’s prime minister bluntly told the couple the country intended to “move on” and remove the queen as head of state. after moving from Barbados last year.

The pageant organizers stress that the event is a “folk pageant” that focuses on how ordinary people are connected “to each other and to the Queen over time.”

It’s a connection Chhabra feels strongly in his own family. He says the queen is a symbol of continuity, uniting his mother’s generation with that of his young daughter, regardless of the time and distance that separates the two.

“If I look at my mother’s founding story, she was 9 years old when the Queen came to Fiji in 1953 during her tour of the South Pacific. She and all her school friends waved flags to welcome her,” he said. “That’s an exciting story that brought her to London from Fiji in the 1960s.”

His 9-year-old daughter will take part in Sunday’s competition – an event that will become her story to tell for future generations.

“In a world where things are very transitory and polarized, I think there are few things that bring us together,” Chhabra said.

Follow all AP stories about the British royal family at

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Not just any cake: A Bollywood tribute to the Queen for the anniversary | lifestyles

Source link Not just any cake: A Bollywood tribute to the Queen for the anniversary | lifestyles

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