LONDON — In a crowning moment for her Platinum Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II appeared at the balcony of Buckingham Palace Sunday, delighting fans who had hoped to catch a glimpse of her during the final day of festivities marking the monarch’s 70 years on the throne.
Due to mobility issues, the 96-year old monarch has had to cut back on her activities in recent months. Before Sunday’s appearance, she had been only two times in public during four-day weekend festivities. Officials said she experienced “discomfort” during those events on Thursday.
For the finale of a lively, vibrant pageant, thousands gathered at Buckingham Palace. Prince Charles appeared with Camilla, her son and heir, as well as Prince William, her oldest grandson, to cheer the monarch.
The queen, dressed in bright green, waved and smiled after the crowds belted out “God Save The Queen.” Her appearance, which only lasted a few minutes, was followed by a crowd-pleasing performance of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen.”
It was an uplifting finale to a massive street pageant celebrating the queen’s life and highlighting Britain’s diversity. There were thousands of participants in the London street parade, all excited and proud of their country and queen.
Sunday’s pageant began with a spectacular military parade featuring 200 horses marching down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. The horses accompanied the golden state coach, which was a carriage with gold interior that carried the queen to her coronation in 69 years. A virtual version of her, drawn from archival video from her 1953 coronation, was shown at the coach’s windows.
A variety of performances celebrated the diverse cultures of Britain and Commonwealth. These included hip-hop and Bollywood dancers, drag queens, and Mardi Gras-style floats. Some 6,000 performers paraded along a three-kilometer (nearly two-mile) route lined with a sea of Union flags, telling the story of the queen’s life with 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. Cliff Richard and other celebrities performed and danced in double-decker open-top buses, which were designed to reflect the sights and sounds each decade.
“It’s a massive honor to be part of this, we’ve got the best queen in the world, don’t we? Best country in the world,” said Warren Jobson, a biker who took part in the parade.
The organizers expected that 1 billion people would watch the pageant around the globe.
For the best viewing of the pageant the royals, most fans braved freezing weather to camp out overnight on the Mall. Some came to see the celebrities who performed — like Ed Sheeran, who sang his song “Perfect” while a huge video screen showed pictures of the queen and her family — while others just wanted to be part of a historical moment.
“It’s part of history, it’s never going to happen again. It’s something special, so if you are going to do it you’ve got to go big or go home,” said Shaun Wallen, 50.
She did not accompany her family to the royal box for the pageant. The Queen and her husband, Prince Harry, didn’t make their first family visit to the U.K. after they left the royal duties to relocate to the U.S. in 2020. While the couple visited the U.K. on the big holiday weekend they were not in the news during Platinum Jubilee events.
After the parade finished, many people ran into the Mall to try and see the queen. The Mall was filled in less than a minute.
When she opened Saturday’s concert at Buckingham Palace, the monarch thrilled everyone. In the video, the monarch had tea with a computer-animated Paddington Bear — and revealed that, just like the furry character, she was partial to marmalade sandwiches and liked to keep them in her handbag.
Star-studded tribute concert featuring Rod Stewart, Duran Duran and Alicia Keys featured Diana Ross as well Queen, and also included Andrea Bocelli and Andrea Bocelli.
Prince Charles, the queen’s eldest son and heir to the throne, highlighted his mother’s role as a symbol of unity and stability through the decades.
Addressing the queen as “Your Majesty, mummy,” Charles said: “You laugh and cry with us and, most importantly, you have been there for us for these 70 years.”
On Sunday, Charles and his wife, Camilla, mingled with crowds at The Oval cricket ground in London for a “Big Jubilee Lunch.”
For similar patriotic events and barbecues, millions of Americans set up long tables and balloons for picnic food and other refreshments.
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