Queen Elizabeth II appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, delighting fans who were hoping to catch a glimpse of her on the final day of festivities marking the monarch’s 70 years on the throne.
The 96-year-old monarch has reduced her schedule in recent months due to travel issues, which the palace describes as “periodic mobility issues”.
Before Sunday, the Queen had only appeared in public twice during the four-day Platinum Jubilee.
On Thursday, Elizabeth joined other members of the Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as they greeted supporters after the Queen’s birthday parade. Later the same day, she took part in a national lighthouse lighting ceremony at Windsor Castle, the royal residence 20 miles west of London where she has spent much of the past two years.
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But she did not attend a church service in his honor on Friday at St Paul’s Cathedral in central London, and she decided not to attend the Epsom Derby horse race on Saturday.
The Queen also missed the gala evening outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday night, despite appearing in a pre-recorded skit with Paddington Bear.
On Sunday, a colorful street show celebrating the Queen and showcasing Britain’s diversity marched through central London.
With the bells ringing at Westminster Abbey, a spectacular military parade featuring 200 horses began the ceremony as they marched through the Mall to Buckingham Palace. They flanked the Golden Carriage, a golden horse-drawn carriage that carried the Queen to her coronation 69 years ago.
Some 6,000 performers marched along a 2 mile route lined with a sea of Union flags, telling the Queen’s life story with dancing, vintage cars, vibrant costumes, carnival music and giant puppets.
Some of Britain’s most beloved cultural exports were here, from the Daleks in Doctor Who to the Aston Martins in James Bond. Celebrities, including singer Cliff Richard, danced and sang in open-top double-decker buses meant to represent the sights and sounds of every decade from the 1950s.
Organizers say the contest is expected to be watched by 1 billion people worldwide.
The most avid royal fans braved the wet and cold weather and camped out on the mall overnight to ensure the best view of the show. Some came for the celebrities performing, while others wanted to be part of a historic moment.
“It’s history, it will never happen again,” said Shaun Wallen, 50. “It’s something special, so if you want to do it, you have to go big or go home.”
The Queen did not join her family in the royal box to watch the show. Neither did Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, who made their first family trip to Britain since stepping back from royal duties and moving to the US in 2020. The couple have largely stayed out of the spotlight at Platinum Jubilee events.
The monarch has not appeared in public for Platinum Jubilee events since Thursday, when she smiled and waved on the Buckingham Palace balcony with her family. She has limited her appearances in recent months due to what the Palace describes as “episodic mobility issues”. She also had Covid-19 this spring.
Still, she thrilled the country when she appeared in a surprise comedy video that opened a concert Saturday outside Buckingham Palace.
In the video, the monarch enjoyed tea with a computer-animated Paddington Bear – and revealed that, just like the furry character, she has a thing for marmalade sandwiches and likes to keep them in her purse.
Diana Ross and rock band Queen headlined the star tribute concert on Saturday night, which also included Rod Stewart, Duran Duran, Alicia Keys and Andrea Bocelli.
Celebrities paid tribute to the Queen’s decades of service to the UK and the Commonwealth.
Prince Charles, her eldest son and heir to the throne, highlighted his mother’s role as a symbol of unity and stability over the decades.
Addressing the Queen as “Your Majesty, Mum”, Charles said: “You laugh and cry with us and more importantly you have been there for us for these 70 years.”
On Sunday, Charles and his wife, Camilla, mingled with the crowd at The Oval cricket ground in London for a “Big Jubilee Lunch”.
Millions of people across the country have also set up long tables, balloons and picnic dishes for street parties and similar patriotic barbecues.
Later on Sunday, celebrities including singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will speak out God Save the Queen outside Buckingham Palace as the competition finale.