Queen Elizabeth II skipped the Platinum Jubilee Pageant parade in 2022 but was there in spirit as she appeared in holographic form. A digital representation of the 96-year-old monarch’s younger self was projected onto the windows of the Gold State Coach, which carried her to her coronation in 1953.
The 96-year-old monarch has curtailed her schedule in recent months due to problems with travel, which the palace describes as “periodic mobility issues.” The pageant began with a spectacular military parade featuring 200 horses marching down the Mall to the Buckingham Palace. They flanked the gold state coach, a gilded carriage that transported the queen to her coronation 69 years ago. A virtual version of her, drawn from archival video from her 1953 coronation, was shown in the coach’s windows.
Around 10,000 people were involved in the event, including 6,000 performers and a number of celebrities. Celebrities, including singers Sir Cliff Richard and Katherine Jenkins, athlete Sir Mo Farah, boxer Chris Eubank, and DJ Tony Blackburn, traveled in decorated open-top double-decker buses for the decade-by-decade celebrations. Three hundred cyclists, riding vintage bikes from across the seven decades of the Queen’s reign, were led by Sir Chris Hoy and cycling golden couple Dame Laura and Sir Jason Kenny.
Was it a real hologram?
In real life, most people understand holograms to be three-dimensional creations that allow the viewer to walk around and see various angles of the projection as though it’s there in the room with you. And, based on the video evidence available, the visual effect on display this past Sunday wasn’t a hologram.
The occasion was somewhat similar to some version of a Pepper’s Ghost illusion, the same one you’ve seen if you ever rode the Haunted Mansion attraction at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. Pepper’s Ghost gives you the appearance of three dimensions but is far less advanced than a real hologram.
The Pepper’s Ghost trick was first publicly demonstrated during a performance on Christmas Eve 1862 in London. The effect was used during a Charles Dickens play called The Haunted Man and the Ghost’s Bargain and people were reportedly enthralled with the performance. The trick works by projecting a bright light on the thing or person you want to appear ghostly and reflecting that light onto a large piece of otherwise transparent glass at an angle in front of the audience.
The 96-year-old Queen has missed several Jubilee events because of “episodic mobility problems”. However, she appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Sunday in a brief appearance to a cheering crowd of people expecting her outside. The appearance lasted just three minutes, but allowed plenty of time for the crowd to sing the national anthem.