The Royal Marines Band played the national anthem “God Save the Queen” while the crowd sang along as the Queen looked out over the huge crowd that stretched as far as the eye could see.
The Queen was last seen in public on Thursday, the first day of celebrations during her record-breaking platinum anniversary. Following that appearance, also on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the palace issued a statement saying the Queen was withdrawing from some events after experiencing “some discomfort”. She returned to Windsor Castle, which is now her main base.
As the long anniversary weekend drew to a close, the Queen sent a message of thanks.
In a palace statement, signed by Elizabeth R., the Queen said: “When it comes to how to celebrate seventy years as Queen, there is no guide to follow. It’s really a first. But I am deeply impressed and deeply touched that so many people took to the streets to celebrate my platinum anniversary.
“Although I may not have personally attended every event, my heart was with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.
“I was inspired by the kindness, joy and connection that has been so evident over the past few days and I hope that renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come.”
The Queen’s appearance on Sunday was not planned. But on the final day of the four-day celebration, observant royal fans at the palace noted that the Royal Standard flag, which was only flown when the monarch is in residence, was flown over Buckingham Palace in the afternoon.
The palace had said there would be a “surprise” on the final day, but it was unclear if that would be an appearance by the 96-year-old British monarch, who was withdrawing from other events.
She still managed to star at a concert at the Palace on Saturday night, where she appeared in a filmed sketch with Paddington Bear.
Crowds had gathered in the palace and surrounding streets on Sunday for the Jubilee Pageant, a carnival that meandered through the streets and included the Gold State Coach, an elaborate carriage that takes eight horses to pull, and even then they move at walking pace. Footage of the Queen was projected onto the windows, making it appear as if she were seated in the carriage.
Harry and Meghan, the Duke of Sussex, did not appear alongside other royals attending the celebrations on Sunday. They kept a low profile throughout the long Jubilee weekend, making only one public appearance during a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands attended street parties for the ‘Big Jubilee Lunch’ over the weekend, some of which ended early due to the UK weather. Street parties, a tradition that began after World War I, are an integral part of major royal occasions.
Buckingham Palace said more than 85,000 people had signed up to host Big Jubilee Lunches, where Prince Charles and Camilla donned the bag of food at the Oval Cricket Ground in London.
There was much rejoicing at one in south west London when neighbors took part in a cake baking competition. There was no hint of platinum pudding – the official dessert of the occasion, which takes five hours to prepare – but there was face painting and some street badminton. A local fire engine showed up and firefighters were helping youngsters hose down other kids, which delighted everyone.
Looking at the scene, Kwame Gyamfi, 43, a mechanical engineer, said the street festivals, which don’t happen that often, “are necessary to bring people together. People have been locked down for almost two years,” he said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic.
There was much celebration in Colchester, a Roman-founded town in south-east England – in part because, as one of England’s oldest ‘towns’, it was given ‘town’ status (meaning more money for the town treasury) to mark the anniversary. ).
Lin Gildea, a retired headmistress who organized one of the big lunches, smiled contentedly as the neighbors brought out plates of poppy seed cakes, Victoria sponges, Chelsea buns – and cans of beer, bottles of champagne and pots of real tea.
And the food kept coming – until the tables groaned.
Gildea thought the big luncheon was just another gift from the monarch – a chance for people to enjoy themselves – and talk about property values and commute times.
“I’m not a massive royalist, but this queen is one in a million,” she said.