Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee: Closing Ceremony


Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee: Closing Ceremony

LONDON (AP) – A colorful street parade celebrating the life of Queen Elizabeth II and highlighting Britain’s diversity was paraded through central London on Sunday, the final day of a long bank holiday weekend honoring the monarch’s 70th anniversary. Royal fans were hoping to catch another glimpse of the 96-year-old Queen later at Buckingham Palace, where the parade ends.

With the ringing of the bells at Westminster Abbey, a spectacular military parade of 200 horses began the ceremony as they marched down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. They flanked the Golden State Coach, a gilded carriage that transported the Queen to her coronation 69 years ago.

The Queen did not take part in the pageant – although a virtual version of her, drawn from archive video of her 1953 coronation, was shown on the windows of the carriage.

Around 6,000 performers marched along a three-kilometer route lined by a sea of ​​Union flags, telling the story of the Queen’s life with dance, vintage cars, colorful costumes, carnival music and giant puppets.

Some of Britain’s most popular cultural exports have been here, from the Daleks in Doctor Who to James Bond’s Aston Martins. Celebrities such as singer Cliff Richard danced and sang on open-top, double-decker buses designed to represent the sights and sounds of every decade since the 1950s.

Organizers say the pageant is expected to be watched by 1 billion people around the world.

Braving the cold and wet weather, the staunch royal supporters camped overnight on the Mall to ensure the best view of the pageant. Some came for the celebrities who will be performing, while others wanted to be part of a historic moment.

“It’s part of history, it will never happen again. It’s special, so if you’re going to do it, you have to make it big or go home,” said Shaun Wallen, 50.

The Queen did not join her family in the royal box to watch the pageant. Neither has Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who took their first family trip to the UK since stepping down from royal duties and relocating to the US in 2020. The pair largely stayed out of the spotlight during the Platinum Jubilee events.

The monarch has not appeared in public at the Platinum Jubilee events since Thursday, as she smiled and waved with her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. She has restricted her appearances in recent months due to what the Palace describes as “episodic mobility issues”. She also had COVID-19 that spring.

Still, she wowed the country when she appeared in a surprise comedy video that opened a concert outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday. In the video, the monarch sipped tea with a computer-animated Paddington Bear — and revealed that just like the furry character, she had a penchant for jam sandwiches and liked to keep them in her purse.

Diana Ross and rock band Queen headlined Saturday night’s star-studded tribute concert, which was also attended by Rod Stewart, Duran Duran, Alicia Keys and Andrea Bocelli.

The celebrities paid tribute to the Queen’s decades of service to Britain and the Commonwealth. Prince Charles, her eldest son and heir apparent, emphasized his mother’s role as a symbol of unity and stability over the decades.

Addressing the Queen as “Your Majesty, Mommy,” Charles said, “You laugh and cry with us and most importantly, you’ve been there for us 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 across the country also set out long tables, balloons, and picnic foods for similar patriotic street festivals and barbecues.

Later on Sunday, celebrities including singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will belt out in front of Buckingham Palace as the finale of the ‘God Save The Queen’ pageant. Many hope that the monarch will have a second balcony appearance at the end of the celebration weekend.


Jo Kearney contributed to this report.


Follow all AP stories about the British royal family at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii.

You May Also Like