‘Deeply touched’ Queen thanks test subjects for platinum anniversary

In an award for its platinum anniversary, Queen Elizabeth II waved to tens of thousands of adoring crowds from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Sunday, much to the delight of fans who had hoped to catch a glimpse of her during the final day of festivities marking the monarch’s 70th anniversary on the throne.

The 96-year-old monarch has cut her schedule in recent months due to difficulties in moving. Prior to Sunday, the Queen had only appeared in public twice — both on Thursdays — during the four-day holiday weekend celebrations.

Officials said she experienced “discomfort” during those events.

Huge crowds lined the Mall outside the palace for the culmination of a boisterous, colorful spectacle cheered as the monarch appeared on the balcony with Prince Charles, his wife Camilla and Prince William and his family.

Queen returns to Buckingham Palace balcony

Queen makes surprising appearance on palace balcony

It was a picture for the history books and a glimpse into the future of the monarchy, with the Queen’s three heirs – her 73-year-old son Charles, eldest grandson William and eldest great-grandson Prince George – by her side.

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.

The Queen appeared along with other senior royals at the end of her platinum anniversary celebrations. (AP)

“We were completely blown away. We all came across as patriotic and excited in a way we didn’t think we were going to do,” said Veronica Timperley, 75, watching with her daughter Kate.

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.

Soldiers parade during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant outside Buckingham Palace in London. (AP)

“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 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 in front of 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.

Diana Ross performs at the Platinum Jubilee concert. (AP)

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? 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.

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.

The statue of Queen Elizabeth II can be seen in a golden carriage during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant. (AP)

“It’s part of history, it’s never going to happen again. It’s something special, so if you’re going to do it, you have to go big or go home,” said 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 couple came to the UK for the big holiday weekend but stayed out of the limelight for the most part.

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

On Saturday, the monarch delighted the country when she appeared in a surprise comedy video that opened an evening concert in front of Buckingham Palace. In the video, the monarch was having tea with a computer-animated Paddington Bear.

She revealed that like the furry bear, she had a penchant for marmalade sandwiches and liked to keep them in her handbag.

Members of the local community take part in the Great Anniversary Lunch at ‘The Long Table’. (AP)

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

During the concert, Charles emphasized his mother’s role as a symbol of unity and stability over the decades.

Charles addressed the Queen as ‘Your Majesty, Mama’ and said, ‘You laugh and cry with us and, most importantly, you have been there for us for 70 years.’

Millions of people across the country celebrated the occasion with patriotic street parties and barbecues, lining the streets with long tables, balloons and picnic dishes.

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

Veteran David Godwin, who partied at a street party in central London, said the Queen has “brought us back together”.

“She reflects the country and right now the country is buzzing and we are at a peak,” he said.

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