On the final day of celebrations to honour her historic 70-year reign, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II made a surprise appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
After experiencing “discomfort” during the opening day procession on Thursday, the Queen skipped events on Friday and Saturday, including a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral and an afternoon at Epsom racecourse.
To the delight of thousands who had gathered along the Mall for the once-in-a-lifetime jubilee event, the Queen was flanked by three generations of her family: Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as Prince William and Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, and their three children.
The crowd roared when the 96-year-old monarch appeared with a bright smile and scanned the patriotic sea of Union Jack flag-waving well-wishers before her, clad in a vibrant green and gripping her cane.
The Queen said she had been “humbled and deeply touched” by all the people who had joined together to honour her milestone at events in London and around the United Kingdom in a message posted by Buckingham Palace on Saturday evening.
“When it comes to how to mark seventy years as your Queen, there is no guidebook to follow. It really is a first. But I have been humbled and deeply touched that so many people have taken to the streets to celebrate my Platinum Jubilee, ” The message started.
“While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family,” she continued.
The monarch expressed her gratitude for the “inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship” seen during the jubilee weekend and hoped “this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come.
“I thank you most sincerely for your good wishes and for the part you have all played in these happy celebrations,” she said at the end of her statement.
The monarch made his third balcony appearance during the jubilee weekend. On Thursday, she and her family watched a flyover and received a salute from soldiers as they returned from the Trooping the Colour military parade. She also took part in the beacon lighting ceremony from Windsor Castle that evening.
The Queen stood stoically while her family joined the audience in singing the National Anthem, which was performed by the Band of the Royal Marines, throughout the three-minute performance.
The family waved one final time and walked back into the house as the West End cast of “Mamma Mia!” began singing “Dancing Queen” while red, white, and blue flares were fired into the air.
Just moments before, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran performed his famous song “Perfect” in front of the royal gates. On neighbouring big screens, archival footage of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh was shown.
Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, who have kept a low profile during their visit to the UK for the festivities, were absent from Sunday’s festivities. Prince Andrew, the Queen’s disgraced son, was also absent after testing positive for coronavirus lately.
On Sunday, the balcony appearance finished off a magnificent jubilee grand finale. A cast of 6,000 people took to the streets of central London earlier in her honour for The People’s Pageant.
Military forces, performers, essential employees, and volunteers from across the UK and Commonwealth marched along a 3-kilometer (1.8-mile) route, mirroring the Queen’s own coronation 70 years ago. The carnival procession made its way through Westminster’s streets, along the Mall, and towards Buckingham Palace.
The Royal Standard flag was raised over the palace towards the end of the march, giving crowds a hint that the king had decided to make a surprise appearance.
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