Remembering The Queen's incredible Golden Jubilee 'Party at the Palace' concert 20 years on

9 September 2022, 10:38 | Updated: 13 September 2022, 10:16

Brian May, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Tom Jones were just some of the legends who performed for the Queen
Brian May, Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and Tom Jones were just some of the legends who performed for the Queen. Picture: Getty/Alamy

By Tom Eames

In 2002, a host of iconic music legends and then-popular artists came together to perform at Buckingham Palace for a truly unique concert.

The Party at the Palace event was held in commemoration of the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, which occurred over the weekend of June 1-4, 2002.

The special event itself was held at Buckingham Palace Garden on June 3, 2002. It was the pop and rock equivalent of the Prom at the Palace, which focused on classical music.

The event was described as the greatest concert in Britain since Live Aid in 1985, or possibly ever.

Tickets were handed out via a lottery, with 12,000 people attending. An estimated 1 million people watched outside the Palace in The Mall, and around the Queen Victoria Memorial, and 200 million watched live on TV around the world.

But who performed on the day and what other surprises occurred? Let's take a look back...

  1. The House Band (featuring Phil Collins)

    The house band for whole night consisted of Phil Palmer (guitar), Pino Palladino (bass), Paul Wickens (keyboards), Phil Collins (drums), Ray Cooper (percussion), and Eric Robinson (saxophone).

    'Stop!' singer Sam Brown, Margo Buchanan and Claudia Fontaine provided backing vocals, and the Royal Academy of Music Symphony Orchestra was conducted by famous composer Michael Kamen.

  2. The hosts

    Lenny Henry at the Palace Concert
    Lenny Henry at the Palace Concert. Picture: Getty

    The concert was hosted by Lenny Henry and Ben Elton.

    Between various acts featured short comedy segments featuring Meera Syal, Nina Wadia, Ruby Wax, Kermit the Frog and Barry Humphries (in character as Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson).

  3. Brian May

    Brian May - 'God Save The Queen' on the roof of Buckingham Palace

    Kicking off the night was perhaps the most iconic moment of the night.

    Queen's Brian May (joined by bandmate Roger Taylor on drums) appeared on the roof of the Palace, performing 'God Save the Queen' on electric guitar.

    Quite possibly the most British thing to happen ever.

  4. Ricky Martin and Mis-Teeq

    Ricky Martin with Mis-Teeq
    Ricky Martin with Mis-Teeq. Picture: Getty

    Perhaps a strange way to kick off the first proper song of the night, but the first act was none other than Latin pop legend Ricky Martin, a full three years after 'Livin' La Vida Loca'.

    He was joined by girl group Mis-Teeq, arguably at the height of their fame, including a young Alesha Dixon, to perform 'The Cup of Life' and 'B With Me'.

    Ricky then performed his aforementioned famous song, while Mis-Teeq dropped by again later for a burst of 'Stop! In the Name of Love'.

  5. S Club 7

    Tina from S Club 7
    Tina from S Club 7. Picture: Getty

    S Club 7 were still going by 2002, and they dropped by to perform their classic pop anthem 'Don't Stop Movin'', which had been a hit a few months previously.

    It was actually announced as the last time the group would be performing as a septet, as Paul Cattermole had announced his departure from the group.

  6. Annie Lennox

    Annie Lennox
    Annie Lennox. Picture: Alamy

    One of Britain's best-loved singers came up next, as Annie Lennox belted out her version of the feminist anthem 'Sisters Are Doin' it for Themselves'.

    Annie also returned later in the evening for her ballad 'Why'.

  7. Phil Collins

    Phil Collins ft. Roger Taylor - You Can't Hurry Love.pm4

    Phil Collins took a break from being in the house band to sing his version of 'You Can't Hurry Love', while Roger Taylor stepped in on drums.

  8. Atomic Kitten

    Atomic Kitten
    Atomic Kitten. Picture: Alamy

    Back to the pop charts of 2002 next, as girl group Atomic Kitten took to the stage.

    The trio took on the classic '60s tune 'Dancing in the Street'. Not quite Martha Reeves or even Bowie and Jagger, but still fun.

  9. Will Young

    Will Young
    Will Young. Picture: Getty

    Will Young was arguably the biggest popstar in Britain in summer 2002. Earlier that year, he had won Pop Idol and had one of the UK's best-selling singles ever.

    The singer performed a version of Marvin Gaye's seminal 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' for the Royal Family.

  10. Blue

    Blue and Tom Jones
    Blue and Tom Jones. Picture: Alamy

    Blue were one of the biggest, if not the biggest, boybands in 2002.

    Keeping the Motown theme going, the four lads went for a cover of Smokey Robinson's 'Get Ready'.

    Later on, Blue returned for a version of 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' alongside Tom Jones.

  11. Emma Bunton

    Emma Bunton
    Emma Bunton. Picture: Alamy

    It had only been a couple of years since the Spice Girls had parted ways, and Emma Bunton continued the pop/Motown crossover with a version of 'Baby Love' by the Supremes.

  12. Tom Jones

    Tom Jones
    Tom Jones. Picture: Getty

    Sir Tom Jones' first appearance of the night saw him sing his party anthem 'Sex Bomb', treating us to some seriously legendary photos.

  13. The Corrs

    The Corrs
    The Corrs. Picture: Getty

    Foreshadowing the Beatles' love-in later in the evening, The Corrs appeared to perform the ballad 'The Long and Winding Road', which had been a number one for Will Young and Gareth Gates earlier in the year.

  14. Toploader

    Toploader. Picture: Alamy

    You can probably guess which song Toploader performed that night.

  15. Shirley Bassey

    Shirley Bassey - Goldfinger (Tradução)

    Welsh icon Shirley Bassey was next up, and she gave a fantastic performance of her classic Bond theme 'Goldfinger'.

  16. Bryan Adams

    Canadian Bryan Adams performs at the Golden Jubile
    Canadian Bryan Adams performs at the Golden Jubile. Picture: Getty

    Canadian star Bryan Adams was next up, and he performed his biggest hit, the classic ballad 'Everything I Do (I Do it for You)'.

  17. Queen

    Will and Brian
    Will and Brian. Picture: Getty

    Brian May and Roger Taylor returned for a medley of Queen classics.

    First up was 'Radio Ga Ga' with Roger on lead vocals, followed by 'We Will Rock You' with Brian singing.

    Will Young then returned with the cast of the We Will Rock You musical for a burst of 'We Are the Champions', before the musical cast belted out 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

  18. Tony Bennett

    Tony Bennett
    Tony Bennett. Picture: Getty

    Showing the young whippersnappers how it's done, crooner Tony Bennett then appeared to perform 'If I Ruled the World'.

  19. Cliff Richard

    Cliff Richard And Brian May
    Cliff Richard And Brian May. Picture: Getty

    One of Her Majesty's favourites, Sir Cliff Richard simply had to make an appearance.

    After singing his classic 'Living Doll', we were then treated to the fascinating moment when he was joined by Brian May and S Club 7 for a version of 'Move It'.

  20. Ozzy Osbourne

    Ozzy Osbourne & Tony Iommi Paranoid Buckingham Palace Garden, London, 2002

    At the time, Ozzy Osbourne had made a surprise comeback thanks to his family's reality TV series The Osbournes.

    Now rebranded as a loveable national hero, Ozzy was joined by his Black Sabbath bandmate Tommy Iommi for 'Paranoid'.

    Later, Ozzy said that it was the greatest moment of his career and that the Queen was "a beautiful woman."

  21. Elton John

    Pre-recorded in the Music Room inside Buckingham Palace earlier on, Sir Elton John gave a performance of his then-new song 'I Want Love'.

    Sadly, there's no decent footage of photos available, but trust us, it happened!

  22. Brian Wilson

    The Corrs & Brian Wilson - God Only Knows

    This was a real treat for rock fans. Beach Boys icon Brian Wilson performed a medley of hits at the Palace.

    He sang 'California Girls', then 'The Warmth of the Sun' with Eric Clapton', then 'God Only Knows' with The Corrs and best of all: 'Good Vibrations' with Emma Bunton, Atomic Kitten and Cliff Richard.

    What a concert.

  23. Eric Clapton

    Eric Clapton - layla (live 2002)

    Guitar legend Eric Clapton was next up, cracking out his epic track 'Layla' for the audience.

  24. Steve Winwood

    Rock and pop favourite then came on stage for his classic '60s track 'Gimme Some Lovin''.

    Again, sadly no footage or pictures!

  25. Joe Cocker

    Joe Cocker - With A Little Help From My Friends

    The late, great, Joe Cocker then sang his powerful version of 'With a Little Help from My Friends'.

    The song was apt, as he was joined by pals Phil Collins, Steve Winwood and Brian May.

  26. Ray Davies

    Ray Davies Of Kinks
    Ray Davies Of Kinks. Picture: Getty

    Another rock legend, this time it was Kinks frontman Ray Davies performing his classic song 'Lola'.

  27. Rod Stewart

    Rod Stewart
    Rod Stewart. Picture: Getty

    Rod Stewart was next up, and he sang his version of the track 'Handbags and Gladrags', which only recently become a hit for the Stereophonics, and had been used as the theme tune for The Office.

  28. Paul McCartney

    Rod Stewart (L) Ozzy Osbourne (2nd L) sing with Cl
    Rod Stewart (L) Ozzy Osbourne (2nd L) sing with Cl. Picture: Getty

    The big finale saw Sir Paul McCartney come on for a medley of classic Beatles hits:

    • 'Her Majesty'/'Blackbird'
    • 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' (with Eric Clapton)
    • 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band'/'The End'
    • 'All You Need is Love' (performed alongside Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Brian Wilson, Queen, Eric Clapton, Cliff Richard, Ozzy Osbourne and Ladysmith Black Mambazo
    • 'Hey Jude'

    Paul McCartney - "Party at the Palace" - LIVE 3 June 2002 - Golden Jubilee Concert

The event ended with the Royal Family members, including the Queen, joining the stars onstage.

Prince Charles thanked his mother for her 50 years on the throne, beginning his speech with the words: "Your Majesty.....MUMMY!", causing the monarch to smirk.

Charles Kissing Queen's Hand
Charles Kissing Queen's Hand. Picture: Getty

And it gave us this incredible picture:

The Queen is introduced to Ozzy Osbourne and Kermit
The Queen is introduced to Ozzy Osbourne and Kermit. Picture: Getty