Buck House Jubilee party time

WHAT do you do if you have a big occasion to celebrate – well most people have a party round at their place.And that's exactly what the Queen is planning for her Golden Jubilee celebrations in June.

WHAT do you do if you have a big occasion to celebrate – well most people have a party round at their place.

And that's exactly what the Queen is planning for her Golden Jubilee celebrations in June. ANNE GOULD took a trip of a lifetime to Buckingham Palace and found out what's in store.

UNLESS you are one of the great or the good the chance of getting an invitation to Buckingham Palace has been about as likely as being offered a trip to the moon.

Well that is until now.

In an unprecedented break from centuries old tradition the Queen has decided to give everyone in the United Kingdom the opportunity to attend two spectacular free concerts in the gardens of her London home on June 1 and 3.

Top names from the worlds of classical music and rock and pop have offered their services free of charge for what promises to be without a doubt the events of the decade.

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But unlike previous garden parties there'll be no chinking of china with tea – instead the Queen is laying on a champagne picnic for all 24,000 of her guests with a dish specially created by the Royal Chefs.

Today the Evening Star can exclusively reveal that 272 of the revellers will come from Suffolk as the Palace has decided that invitations will be allocated according to the countywide spread of population throughout the land.

And all you have to do to get a chance of going along is to apply by phone or online before March 17

and pray that yours is one of the names to be selected through a ballot.

Half will get invitations to the pop concert on the June 3 bank holiday which features Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, soul diva Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, S Club 7, founder member of the Beach boys Brian Wilson, Atomic Kitten and Pop Idol winner Will Young.

Tantalisingly the full line-up of performers has yet to be announced but the show will be under the creative guidance of Beatles producer Sir George Martin and Phil Ramone.

However to give the concert an extra dimension the artists will be performing live songs made famous by other legendary performers from the past five decades.

The other 136 Suffolk party goers are in for a classical treat on June 1 provided by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the baton of Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis.

It will include a rare performance from the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich >>, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen and opera's hottest duo Roberto Alagna and Angela Gheorghiu.

Courtiers at yesterday's press conference said The Queen and Prince Philip will attend both concerts (each of which has a guest list of 12,000) and added that everyone at the palace was looking forward to what should be a "fun" occasions.

Those lucky enough to get an invitation may also get the chance to rub shoulders with Princes William and Harry who will also be there.

Although exact details have yet to be announced funny men Ben Elton and Lenny Henry will be on hand to entertain the June 3 event and Ray Cooper, Pino Palladino and members of Ladysmith Black Mambazo will be joining Phil Collins in the "house" band.

Both events will be topped off with spectacular firework displays.

For those unfortunate enough not to get an invitation the concerts will also be shown on large screens in and around the Mall and broadcast live on BBC television and radio throughout Britain and the world.

HOW to get an invite.

To apply for an invitation and enter the ballot call 0900 1952 2002. Calls will cost no more than £1 and the proceeds will go The Queen's Golden Jubilee charity.

Or log on to www.bbc.co.uk/queensconcerts.

You can apply for both concerts and ask for up to two tickets. Applications can be made from all family members.

Phone lines are open 24 hours a day until March 17.

Successful applicants will be contacted in writing between April 8 and 19.