With canon fire, musical chorus, a tribute to a beloved Connétable and ample confetti, Liberation 77 was a right Royal celebration.
Crowds cheered as white and red strips of paper were fired into the air, showering down over the Bailiff, Lieutenant Governor and Earl and Countess of Wessex who waved from the Pomme D’Or Balcony.
Fortunately, that was the only shower to appear on Monday 9 May, with the first full public Liberation Day celebration to be held in two years taking place with sunshine and temperatures of up to 24 degrees.
Pictured: Flags were in abundance at Monday's ceremony, which was attended by around 1,600. (Max Le Feuvre)
As well as the Royals, Mayor Reed Gusciora of Trenton, New Jersey (twinned with St. Helier); Mayor David Nicolas, the Mayor of Avranches, and the Deputy Head of Mission from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Herr Darius Rahimi were all guests of honour at the ceremony.
The celebrations in Liberation Square were kicked off by the traditional States Assembly meeting, which was presided by the Deputy Bailiff, Robert MacRae, at 09:40.
All attention then turned to the Glacis Field at Fort Regent, where the Earl and Countess of Wessex unveiled a plaque on Jersey’s new battery to commemorate the Duke of Edinburgh.
Pictured: The Earl of Wessex delivering a message to islanders from Windsor on the 77th anniversary of liberation from occupation. (Max Le Feuvre)
The Jersey Militia later provided a 21-gun salute, cloaking St. Helier Harbour in a white layer of mist.
Their Royal Highnesses were then driven down to Liberation Square, where a crowd of 1,600 welcomed the pair with rapturous applause and waving of Jersey flags.
The Dean of Jersey, the Very Reverend Mike Keirle, delivered a Liberation prayer giving thanks for the Jersey’s “deliverance from tyranny and oppression”, and going on to hint at the conflict in Ukraine, speaking of islanders using their “hard-won freedom to help and support those who experience the despair of conflict and dictatorship.”
Pictured: The Bailiff paid tribute to the late Constable of St. Saviour and 'Beautiful Jersey' singer, Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard, in his speech. (Max Le Feuvre)
This was followed by prayers from Chair of the Methodist Church in the Channel Islands, the Reverend Dawn Saunders, and Roman Catholic Dean Dominic Golding, who uttered the Old Testament passage from the Book of Micah once famously quoted by George Washington on Mount Vernon: “Every man will sit under his own vine and under his own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid.”
Islanders were later invited to reflect on the situation in Ukraine again, as YouTheatre member Kate Meadows read a translated version of ‘Contra Spem Spero!’ (‘I Hope Against Hope’) – “I will laugh despite my tears,” she read, “Away you sorrowful thoughts!”
Following the faith leaders’ addresses, the Earl of Wessex, the youngest son of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Edward, then shared a message from Windsor.
Pictured: As always, the re-enactment was a highlight. (Max Le Feuvre)
In it, the Queen sent her “warmest” wishes to the islands, spoke of her “fond” memories of having previously visited, and praised the “close and long-lasting” ties between Jersey and the Crown.
This was welcomed with cheers from the crowd, before the Bailiff, Timothy Le Cocq, provided the Loyal response.
As well as reflecting on islanders’ efforts with respect to climate change and the war in Ukraine, his speech contained messages of inclusivity, and a call for islanders to take the opportunity to “influence the island’s future” in the upcoming election.
Pictured: Raising the flag on the balcony, 77 years later... (Max Le Feuvre)
He concluded the address with a tribute to the late Constable Sadie Le Sueur-Rennard, whose “rendition of ‘Beautiful Jersey’ in English and Jèrriais was one of the central points of Liberation Fay celebrations for many years.”
The ceremony itself did not go without a rendition of the island song, however, with Anna Edelenbos taking up the important role.
Pictured: Marching perfectly in time... (Max Le Feuvre)
Attendees were also treated to a performance of Faithful and Free by the Musical Originals singers.
The piece itself was originally written by Jersey composed Charles Mauleverer to celebrate Liberation 75, whose celebrations were sadly unable to go ahead due to covid.
Pictured: The Royals waving from the Pomme D'Or balcony. (Max Le Feuvre)
The highlight for many, however, will have been the traditional Liberation Day re-enactment.
Afterwards, the Earl and Countess made their way through the crowd, sharing joyful exchanges with islanders young and old, before entering the Pomme D’Or.
Pictured: Battling through a sea of confetti... (Max Le Feuvre)
There, they ascended to the balcony accompanied by the Bailiff and Lieutenant Governor waved at the crowds below as parades took place below.
The joy of the day was capped off by the surprise of confetti canons, turning the streets a wash of red and white, the colours of the Jersey flag.
Pictured: Many islanders were delighted to get a wave from the Royals. (Max Le Feuvre)
Yesterday, the Jersey and Guernsey flags were flown outside the Palace of Westminster.
House of Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle marked the event in a tweet, as did the Ministry of Justice.
Pictured: Some islanders were dressed for the occasion. (Max Le Feuvre)
"On this day, we remember the victims and celebrate the relationship between the UK and the Channel Islands," the MoJ said.
Over the coming days, a number of Channel Islands will be celebrating their national days. These are their Liberation Days, which mark the end of their occupation during the Second World War. Today we are flying the flags of Jersey and Guernsey outside the Palace of Westminster. pic.twitter.com/m66w85x9DJ— Sir Lindsay Hoyle (@CommonsSpeaker) May 9, 2022
Today is Liberation Day in Jersey & Guernsey, and both flags are flying above MoJ HQ to mark the anniversary of the end of the Nazi occupation of the islands during WWII.— Ministry of Justice (@MoJGovUK) May 9, 2022
On this day, we remember the victims and celebrate the relationship between the UK and the Channel Islands. pic.twitter.com/AegL59Z4ZU
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