Queen Elizabeth II appears on last day of platinum jubilee

LONDON — To mark her platinum anniversary, Queen Elizabeth II 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 the 70th anniversary festivities of the monarch.

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 during the four-day holiday weekend celebrations. Officials said she experienced “discomfort” during those events on Thursday.

Thousands gathered outside Buckingham Palace for the climax of a heady, colorful spectacle 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 as the crowd shouted “God Save The Queen.” Her performance, which lasted only a few minutes, was followed by a crowd-pleasing performance of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”.

It was an uplifting finale to a massive street competition celebrating the Queen’s life and highlighting Britain’s diversity. Thousands of people took to the streets of London, many speaking of their queen and country with excitement and pride.

Sunday’s parade kicked off with a spectacular military parade with 200 horses marching through the Mall to Buckingham Palace. They flanked the golden state coach, a gilded coach that carried the Queen to her coronation 69 years ago. 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 three-kilometer (almost two miles) 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 best-loved cultural exports were here, from the Daleks in “Doctor Who” to James Bond’s sleek 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? The best country in the world,” said Warren Jobson, a motorcyclist who took part in the parade.

Organizers expected the parade to be watched by 1 billion people around the world.

Braving the wet, chilly weather, the biggest royal fans camped out on the Mall overnight to ensure the best view of the parade. Some came to see the celebrities performing — like Ed Sheeran, who sang his song “Perfect” while a huge video screen showed photos of the Queen and her family — while others just wanted to be part of a historic moment.

“It’s part of history, it will never happen again. It’s something special, so if you’re going to do it, you have to go big or go home,” says Shaun Wallen, 50.

The Queen did not join her family in the royal box to watch the procession. Nor did Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, make their first family trip to the UK since renouncing royal duties and moving to the US in 2020. The pair came to the UK for the big holiday weekend, but stayed out of the limelight for the most part during the Platinum Jubilee events.

Thousands of people rushed into the Mall after the parade ended in an attempt to see the Queen, filling the vast expanse within minutes.

The monarch delighted the country when she appeared in a surprise comedy video that opened a concert in front of Buckingham Palace on Saturday. In the video, the monarch had tea with a computer-animated Paddington Bear – and revealed that like the furry character, she loved marmalade sandwiches and kept them in her handbag.

Diana Ross and rock band Queen headlined Saturday night’s star-studded tribute concert, which also featured Rod Stewart, Duran Duran, Alicia Keys and Andrea Bocelli.

Prince Charles, the Queen’s eldest son and heir to the throne, emphasized his mother’s role as a symbol of unity and stability over the decades.

Addressing the Queen with “Your Majesty, Majesty,” Charles said, “You laugh and cry with us and, most importantly, you have been there for us for 70 years.”

On Sunday, Charles and his wife, Camilla, joined the crowd at The Oval cricket ground in London for a ‘Big Jubilee Lunch’.

Millions across the country are also setting up long tables, balloons and picnic meals for similar patriotic street parties and barbecues.

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