Documentary going behind the scenes at the Tower of London and exploring its 900 years of history.
It is 02 June 2022 – but this is no ordinary day at the Tower. It’s the start of the Platinum Jubilee weekend and the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70 years on the throne. The Queen is the longest serving monarch the Tower has seen even in its thousand-year history, and celebrations are kicking off this morning with the loudest and longest gun salute the Tower has seen in centuries. In charge of this epic event are Chief Yeoman Warder Pete McGowran and Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller, who are also preparing for a record turnout of the Yeoman Body. Normally only a handful of Beefeaters are needed to do crowd control at a gun salute, but the Yeoman Warders aren’t missing this special one for the world, even giving up their holidays to be there.
The 124 round gun salute, the biggest in the country, takes twenty minutes to perform, with a parade of Yeoman Warders all in their scarlet livery turning out to honour their monarch. The Red Arrows fly over the gun salute towards Buckingham Palace, where thousands of well-wishers have come to celebrate.
In the Tower’s gift shop, sales assistant and Royal super fan Allen Jones has been doing a roaring trade in Jubilee memorabilia, from chocolate chip biscuits to miniature crowns. He is delighted to see the Queen come out onto the balcony at Buckingham Palace to cheering crowds. In the café, Tower bakers have perfected their own Jubilee culinary creations for the visitors, including cupcakes in the shape of the Queen’s beloved corgis.
As crowds turn up to the Tower for the Jubilee celebrations, the Yeoman Warders’ historical tours are even more in demand. Beefeater Chris Clawson reveals he’s been doing some research on the classic children’s nursery rhyme, Three Blind Mice, whose secret message originated at the Tower.
The Tower’s most senior official, the Constable, General The Lord Nicholas Houghton is preparing to retire and reflects on his time living in such an extraordinary building. Before he retires, he will take part in one event no Constable in the Tower’s history has ever experienced – the lighting of the Tower’s Platinum Jubilee beacon in celebration of the Queen’s 70 year reign.
And for this final event of the day, the international beacon lighting ceremony, Chief Yeoman Warder Pete visits the Queen at Windsor Castle. He’s taking with him the Commonwealth of Nations Globe, a special ceremonial object that has been stored at the fortress for precisely this moment. The Queen will use the globe to trigger 3,500 beacons all over the world, in celebration of her Jubilee. Back at the Tower, Yeoman Gaoler Rob Fuller and Deputy Governor Debbie Whittingham are literally holding the fort, as they perform the Tower’s own beacon lighting ceremony with a Yeoman Warder escort. The Constable lights the beacon on the battlements as his final formal duty, and a last great memory of the Tower.
Inside the Tower of London Series
You can find a full index and overview of Inside the Tower of London here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 24 November 2022.
- Rating: U.
- Running Time: 58 minutes.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.