Hundreds of Bollywood dancers are set to join the parade in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II with a dance performance around a giant version of her wedding cake as part of this weekend's platinum jubilee celebrations in London.
Ajay Chhabra, who runs the Nutkhut creative company in the UK capital, was asked to design a pageant performance to mark the jubilee and decided to use a replica of her 1947 wedding cake as its centrepiece.
The four-tier cake was called “the 10,000-mile cake” at the time because it contained sugar, dried fruit, rum and brandy from all corners of the Commonwealth, from South Africa to the Caribbean and Australia to the South Pacific.
Mr Chhabra, a second-generation British Indian with Fijian heritage, wanted to use his segment of Sunday’s jubilee pageant to highlight how the queen, through her historic 70 years on the throne, united generations of Commonwealth citizens from places as far flung as Fiji.
“We’re not recreating the 1947 wedding of the queen but creating a sort of homage to it, with all the people and all the diversity that Britain has produced,” he said.
On Sunday, more than 200 performers in vibrant saris will dance to Bollywood tunes around a moving, six-metre version of the queen’s wedding cake, powered by a hidden electric vehicle.
Its top tier, featuring a depiction of the queen’s corgis holding aloft a crown, pops up and down on a hydraulic system.
The dancers, who range in age from 9 to 79, all have Commonwealth heritage.
The Bollywood-themed wedding party is only one of many colourful acts to parade down The Mall to Buckingham Palace in London on Sunday, the finale of a busy four-day weekend of festivities marking the monarch’s platinum jubilee.
More than 10,000 people from across the UK and the Commonwealth have been involved in producing the pageant, which is expected to be watched by 1 billion people around the world.
A military showcase opens the spectacle, followed by a procession featuring a medley of carnival music, enormous mechanical 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 follow a three-kilometre route and end outside Buckingham Palace, where crowds will sing God Save the Queen.
Singers Ed Sheeran, Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir Cliff Richard will be among the celebrities paying tribute.