Queen Elizabeth has had some pretty wild 90th birthday celebrations, but one poor woman in England takes the cake. After lighting a ceremonial beacon in honor of the Queen, the woman apparently didn’t notice that her hair was on fire.
It was only when “cries of ‘hair, hair’ broke out from the watching crowd” that the unidentified woman realized her hair was burning, writes The Mirror. And that wasn’t all of it.
Someone at the beacon lighting had the clever idea of covering the concrete podium with sheeting made of cotton. Under a basket holding a fire.
Mr. Maurice Bent, who holds the ancient title of “verderer” in the Forest of Dean in the west of England, was “temporarily stranded as flaming debris rained down from the beacon above his head.” Perhaps standing so close to a burning fire with dripping detritus wasn’t the best choice for Mr. Bent.
Queen Elizabeth has had a busy day of walkabouts, dinners, and lots of waving for her birthday. Elizabeth is now not only the longest reigning monarch ever in the U.K., but the longest-lived. While she might not want to be constantly reminded of her advanced years, she demonstrated her spryness and seemed generally pleased with the public adulation from all over the world, not just her subjects.
The lighting of beacons across the U.K. is an age-old custom. A chain of beacons was last lit for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. According to the BBC, some of the beacons are “specially-built gas-fuelled structures, while others are traditional bonfires or braziers on top of tall wooden posts.” We can all guess what kind the young lady with the flaming hair got caught under.
The first beacon was lit by Queen Elizabeth and her son and heir, Prince Charles. The prince made a short speech in front of the Queen, who had sensibly changed out of her hat and into a scarf.
“I find it very hard to believe that you’ve reached your 90th year and I suddenly realised the other day that I have known you since you were 22 years old. But this, ladies and gentleman, is a very special occasion and this beacon that her majesty is about to light will also represent – as it lights other beacons across the nation – the love and affection with which you are held throughout this country and the Commonwealth. So can we wish your majesty a special and the most happiest of birthdays on this occasion.”
Beacons were lit with great ceremony in several different parts of the U.K., and the BBC notes that “the Army Cadet Force have taken beacons to the top of the highest peaks of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
Although celebrating her birthday, Queen Elizabeth still “worked.” On Wednesday, Elizabeth went to the Post Office at Windsor to celebrate the organization’s 500th birthday. She was treated to rousing mini-concert by the Post Office Choir, who all seemed to have an enormous amount of fun singing “Return To Sender.”
Thursday morning, the Queen unveiled a plaque marking the Windsor Walkway. The four-mile trail runs through parts of the town and Windsor Great Park. It was designed to recognize the moment on September 9, 2015, that the monarch broke the record held by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, by being on the throne for 63 years and seven months.
As per usual on these occasions, Queen Elizabeth walked along the crowd receiving flowers, birthday wishes, and presents. She later rode in an open-topped Range Rover with her husband, Prince Philip, waving to the delighted masses.
As the Queen’s “official” birthday is in June, the street parties and other festivities will be held then. As for more beacons, if they are lit again next month we know of at least two people who won’t be going anywhere near them.
[Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images]