Queen endorses Jubilee parties
The Queen has given her official endorsement for a series of street parties to be held across the UK as part of her Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June.
She has written to the organisers of the Big Jubilee Lunches, saying she is "delighted" that they are taking place on June 3 as part of events marking her 60 years on the throne.
The project sees people getting together to share lunch with neighbours and friends in the form of a traditional street party or a picnic in small or larger groups.
The idea emulates the street parties which greeted the Queen's coronation in 1953, also the first of a British monarch to be shown on television, allowing people to watch events at home with friends and neighbours.
In a letter to the organiser, the Eden Project tourist attraction in Cornwall, the Queen wrote: "I am delighted that the organisers of The Big Lunch are helping people from across the United Kingdom and further afield to hold Big Jubilee Lunches as part of the celebrations to mark my Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
"I send my very best wishes to you and all of those who will be present for what I hope will be a most memorable and enjoyable event."
The events stem from the Big Lunch movement, which started in 2009 and which last year saw almost two million people get together in their local communities.
This year people across all 54 Commonwealth countries are being encouraged to hold their own Big Jubilee Lunch events as part of the celebrations.
Peter Stewart, of the Eden Project, said: "We are enormously grateful to the Queen for her message of support. I'm sure everyone who is taking part in The Big Jubilee Lunch will want to join me in thanking her for her best wishes for a memorable and enjoyable event.
"Some 10 million people came out in 1977 to celebrate the Queen's Silver Jubilee, so we hope a large number of people will take part in The Big Lunch for the first time in 2012 - joining the millions of us that have been doing it for the last three years."