To mark her platinum jubilee, Queen Elizabeth appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Sunday, delighting fans who had hoped to catch a glimpse of her during the final day of festivities to mark the monarch’s 70th anniversary.
The 96-year-old monarch has shortened her schedule in recent months due to difficulties with relocation. Prior to Sunday, the Queen had only appeared in public twice – both on Thursdays – during the four-day celebrations of the holiday weekend. Officials said she experienced “discomfort” during those events.
Thousands of people gathered outside Buckingham Palace for the climax of a boisterous, colorful spectacle cheered as the monarch appeared on the balcony with her son and heir, Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, and her eldest grandson Prince William and his family.
The queen, dressed in bright green, waved and smiled after the crowd changed God save the queen† Her performance, which lasted only a few minutes, was followed by a crowd-pleasing performance of ABBA’s dance queen†
It was an uplifting finale to a grand street spectacle that celebrated the Queen’s life and highlighted Britain’s diversity. Thousands of people took to the streets of London, many speaking of their queen and country with excitement and pride.
After that, the monarch released a statement thanking everyone who celebrated her platinum anniversary.
“When it comes to how to celebrate 70 years as your queen, there is no guidebook to follow. It really is a first,” she said. “But I am humbled and deeply moved that so many people have taken to the streets to celebrate my platinum anniversary.
“While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all, and I remain committed to serving you as best I can, supported by my family.”
Sunday’s parade kicked off with a spectacular military parade with 200 horses marching through the Mall to Buckingham Palace. They flanked the Gold State Coach, a gilded carriage that carried the Queen on the day of her coronation. A virtual version of her, taken from archive videos of her coronation in 1953, was displayed on the carriage windows.
The pomp and ceremony was followed by a medley of acts celebrating the diversity of modern Britain and the Commonwealth, from hip-hop and Bollywood dancers to drag queens and Mardi Gras-style floats.
Some 6,000 performers paraded along a two-mile route lined with a sea of Union flags, telling the story of the Queen’s life through dance, vintage cars, vibrant costumes, carnival music and giant puppets.
Some of Britain’s most beloved cultural exports were there, from the Daleks in doctor who to James Bond’s streamlined Aston Martins. Celebrities, including singer Cliff Richard, danced and sang from open-top double-decker buses designed to represent the sights and sounds of each decade, starting with the 1950s.
“It’s a huge honor to be a part of this. We have the best queen in the world, don’t we? Best country in the world,” said Warren Jobson, a motorcyclist who took part in the parade.
The pageant was watched by an estimated one billion people around the world, organizers say.