LONDON - Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a big fan of the Beatles, will get to see one of his musical heroes, Sir Paul McCartney, play live at Buckingham Palace Monday night at one of the hottest tickets on the planet.
Harper and his wife Laureen are among a select group of VIPs and dignitaries who will be front and centre for a concert on the roof of Buckingham Palace in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. In addition to McCartney, the performers include legends like Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox.
Harper, of course, has, for better or worse, become Canada's rock'n'roll prime minister. Three years ago at the National Arts Centre he played piano and sang the Beatles, With a Little Help From My Friends. Two years ago, at a Conservative's Christmas party, he led his band through a series of tunes by the Who, the Rolling Stones and Neil Diamond.
And he's had Bryan Adams and Nickelback's Chad Krueger over to 24 Sussex Drive.
Hundreds of thousands are expected to brave forecasted soggy, cool conditions to watch the rock'n'roll spectacle on big-screen TVs in Hyde Park, St. James's Park and on The Mall near the palace grounds.
At 10:30 p.m. here Monday, the Queen will light the last of 4,000 beacons that have been lit all across Britain and the Commonwealth, including Canada. The last two Canadian beacons were lit at Canada House on Trafalgar Square here, the home of the Canadian high commission to the U.K.
It was written by Canadians who participated in the naval pageant on the River Thames Sunday, when more than 1,000 ships of all kinds sailed past Queen Elizabeth II.
Members of the Royal Canadian Navy were among the special guard escorting the royal barge, MV Spirit of Chartwell. The Canadian Canoe Museum also organized a replica voyageur canoe for the celebratory flotilla.
Millions of Britons this week are shrugging off the economic doom and gloom that has gripped Europe to throw a giant party for their beloved Queen.
The U.K. Daily Mail reported that 9,500 official parties were scheduled all over the U.K. during what is for Britons a holiday long long weekend. That's twice as many parties as were held during Kate and Will's wedding last year.
A poll released late last week shows that support among Britons for Queen Elizabeth has never been higher.
The Harpers, with children Ben and Rachel in tow, arrived in London Sunday night to be part of the party. They're camped out at the Hyatt Churchill hotel in central London for the next few nights as they take in the official celebrations of the historic Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of Elizabeth II's ascension to the throne.
Only one other monarch in all of British history has ever ruled for 60 years and that was Queen Victoria.
On Tuesday, Harper will hold a reception at Canada House on Trafalgar Square for some Canadian Olympic athletes.
Tuesday evening, he and Laureen will join U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha for dinner at 10 Downing Street in central London.
Then on Wednesday, Harper and Governor General David Johnston will have a private audience with Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace and present her with a new portrait of Her Majesty. This portrait will eventually end up back in Ottawa at the governor general's residence at Rideau Hall.
After that, it's back to the business of politics for the PM when he heads to Paris for a meeting with French President Francois Hollande.Last Updated: 06/03/12 20:57