Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee celebrations begin

Four days of celebration in honor of Queen Elizabeth IIs 70 years on the throne are underway with a showing of British military traditions stretching from the time of the horse and cannon to the era of the jet.

Formal celebrations for the platinum anniversary kicked off Thursday with Trooping the Colour, an annual military review that marks the sovereign’s official birthday since 1760.

The Queen made her way onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace just after 12:20 p.m. (9:20 p.m. AEST), dazzling blue and holding a walking stick.

Prince William puts on bear hat as UK celebrates platinum anniversary

Her Majesty, who first showed up alongside Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent, was to be joined by working members of the Royal Family before 70 planes roared.

The anniversary is commemorated with a four-day holiday weekend in the UK.

The celebration of Elizabeth’s reign includes a Friday thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in Londona concert at Buckingham Palace on Saturday and a parade on Sunday afternoon hosted by thousands of performers from schools and community groups from across the country.

Throughout the weekend, neighborhood organizations and individuals are expected to hold thousands of street parties across the country, repeating a tradition that began with the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Kent watch from the balcony during the Trooping the Color in London. (AP)

The 96-year-old queen is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the first to reach the seven-decade milestone on the throne.

The anniversary gives many people – even those who are often indifferent to the monarchy – a chance to reflect on the state of the nation and the massive changes that have taken place during its reign.

Former Prime Minister John Major – one of the 14 prime ministers of the Queen’s reign – said the monarch’s stoic presence had helped steer the country over the decades.

Cambridge kids attract the color
Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte in the carriage at Trooping the Color during Queen Elizabeth II’s platinum anniversary at The Mall. (Photo: Karwai Tang) (WireImage)

“The Queen has been representing our better selves for over 70 years,” he told the BBC.

In a written anniversary message, the Queen thanked people in Britain and the Commonwealth who were involved in organizing the celebrations.

Queen Elizabeth II gives a wide grin as she watches the Trooping the Color ceremony from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. (AP)

“I know that many happy memories will be created on these festive occasions,” said Elizabeth.

“I remain inspired by the goodwill that has been shown to me, and I hope the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved over the past 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”

Congratulations came from world leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron called Elizabeth “the golden thread that binds our two countries” and one of the “very few constants” on the international stage.

Kate Middleton trooped the color
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, during the Trooping the Color parade. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images) (Getty)

“You are our friend, such a close ally, our example of service to others,” Macron said in an English-language video message to the queen.

The name of the first event of the long weekend, Trooping the Colour, refers to a regimental flag, or ‘color’, being dragged through the ranks.

Britain’s annual tradition for the Queen’s birthday is a ceremonial reenactment of how battle flags were once displayed to soldiers to ensure they would recognize a crucial rallying point if they became disoriented in battle.

The Queen’s Guard during the Trooping the Color parade. (Getty)

The troops taking part come from the Army Housekeeping Department, which is made up of the seven regiments that perform ceremonial duties for the Queen. Their members are fully trained soldiers and are often deployed abroad when not on ceremonial duty.

Each year, a different unit has the honor of manning its color. The 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards will be in the spotlight during the Platinum Jubilee.

Thousands of people, some of whom camped overnight, lined the parade route — many of them wearing Union Jack flags, party hats or plastic tiaras.

Members of Band of the Household Cavalry take part in the Queen's Birthday Parade, the Trooping the Color in London, Wednesday 2 June 2022, on the first of four days of platinum anniversary celebrations.  The events over a long holiday weekend in the UK are designed to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the monarchs' service.  (Paul Ellis/Pool Photo via AP)
Members of Band of the Household Cavalry take part in the Queen’s Birthday Parade. (AP)

Carly Martin, who took an overnight bus from South London with her daughter, said she had come “to reminisce”.

“You’ll never see this again in your life,” she said.

“Not in mine anyway, maybe not in my daughter’s…70 years—it’s all I’ve ever known.”

The Queen is expected to make two appearances on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, but Prince Charles will play a key role in the event, greeting passing soldiers on behalf of his mother.

Princess Anne troop the color
Princess Anne, Princess Royal. rides on horseback during the Trooping the Color parade. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images) (Getty)

Elizabeth has been struggling to make ends meet lately and her courtiers have gone out of their way to make it as easy as possible for her.

The night before the first major events, royal supporters seek out the best spots on the Mall and prepare to sleep there. (Getty)

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will be watching the spectacle along with other members of the royal family. The couple has traveled from their California home to participate in the celebrations.

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