The platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II begins with pomp

The platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II begins with pomp

London –

Queen Elizabeth II cautiously climbed the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Thursday, drawing wild cheers from the tens of thousands who came to join her at the start of four days of celebrations for the 70th anniversary of the throne.

Her fans wore Union Jack flags, party hats, or plastic tiaras. Some had camped all night hoping for a glimpse of the 96-year-old queen, whose appearances have become a rarity, and a chance to witness Trooping the Color – a military parade that has celebrated the official birthday of every ruler since 1760.

It was a blast of exhilaration at a large crowd, and one of the first large gatherings since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago.

“Everyone has the same mission,” said Hilary Matthews, 70, who came from Hertfordshire outside London. “All the atrocities that were happening in the world and in England at the moment have been given up for one day, and we can only really enjoy the celebration of the Queen.”

Elizabeth, who became queen at the age of 25, is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the first to accede to the throne at seven decades.

Enjoyed her moment. Smiling, she spoke with her grandson Prince Louis, 4, who occasionally covered his ears as 70 old and modern military planes swooped over the palace to salute the Queen. The six-minute show featured a formation of Typhoon fighter jets flying in the shape of the Number 70.

Wearing a navy blue Angela Kelly dress, the Queen was joined on the balcony by more than a dozen royals – but not Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who abandoned their frontline royal duties two years ago. The couple traveled to London from their California home with their two young children to take a small part in the festivities, and on Thursday watched Trooping the Color with other family members.

They did not appear on the balcony of the palace, because the king decided that only members of the royal family should receive this honor. The decision also easily excluded Prince Andrew, who had relinquished his public duties amid controversy over his links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

Andrew will also miss Friday mass at St Paul’s Cathedral in London after he tested positive for COVID-19.

The jubilee is celebrated with a wonderful four-day holiday and events including a concert at Buckingham Palace on Saturday and a competition organized by thousands of artists from schools and community groups across the country on Sunday.

Thousands of street parties are planned across the country, repeating a tradition that began with the coronation of the Queen in 1953.

Not everyone celebrates in Britain. Many people took advantage of the long weekend to go on vacation. Twelve protesters were arrested Thursday after they crossed the roadblocks and on the parade route. Animal Rebellion claimed responsibility, saying the protesters were “demanding the restoration of royal lands”.

Prince George, left, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte ride a carriage at the first four days of festivities marking the Platinum Jubilee, June 2, 2022 (Aaron Chown/Pool Photo via AP)

However, the jubilee 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 occurred during Elizabeth’s reign.

Former Prime Minister John Major, one of the Queen’s 14 prime ministers, said the Queen’s sedate presence has helped steer the country for decades,

“The Queen has represented ourselves for more than 70 years,” he told the BBC.

In a letter written to mark the jubilee, the Queen thanked the people in Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations involved in organizing the festivities. For many, the occasion is the first opportunity for a big bouquet since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than two years ago.

“I know that many happy memories will be created on these festive occasions,” Elizabeth said. “I am still inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and I hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved over the past seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”

Congratulations have arrived from world leaders, including Pope Francis and US President Joe Biden. French President Emmanuel Macron described Elizabeth as the “golden thread that connects our two countries” and former President Barack Obama recalled the Queen’s “blessing and generosity” during his first visit to the palace.

“Your life has been a gift, not only to the United Kingdom but to the world,” Obama said in a video message, adding, “I hope the light of your crown continues to dominate.”

Cheers and hooves rang out on Thursday as horse-drawn carriages ferried members of the royal family, including Prince William’s wife Kate, and their children Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4. From Buckingham Palace to Horse Guards Parade, a ceremonial parade ground about 1 kilometer (0.6 mi) away, for Tropping the Color.

The annual tradition is a ceremonial reenactment of the way the battle flags or colors were displayed to soldiers to ensure that they would recognize a crucial rally point if they became disoriented in combat.

Prince Charles played a major role during the event as he stood up on behalf of his mother. Elizabeth has had trouble moving around lately, and her entourage has been keen to make things as simple for her as possible, allowing Charles to take on more duties.

Charles, in his ceremonial military uniform, walked the parade ground on horseback and saluted the passing troops in their scarlet attire and bearskin hats. He was flanked by his sister, Princess Anne, and his son, Prince William.

Tens of thousands of locals and tourists lined the road between the palace and the parade ground to enjoy the scenery and atmosphere.

Celia Lord, 60, said: “I was right up front… I’m so proud of the Queen. She’s been my queen my whole life, and I think we owe her so much for the service she’s done to the country, so I wanted to come here to show my support today and say thank you.”

2022-06-02 08:29:00

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