LONDON– Thousands of people gathered outside Buckingham Palace for a star-studded concert as two future monarchs paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II on Saturday, the third day of a platinum jubilee extravaganza celebrating her 70 years on the throne will.
Prince Charles and Prince William, the Queen’s son and grandson, will address an audience of 22,000 and millions more television viewers. The event, starring Alicia Keys, Queen and Adam Lambert, takes place in a temporary amphitheater built around the Victoria Memorial outside the palace.
David Beckham and tennis player Emma Raducanu are among those in attendance, while Diana Ross will close the show with her first live performance in the UK in 15 years. The concert is also expected to include a pre-recorded performance by Elton John.
The 96-year-old monarch is expected to miss the evening’s outdoor event, which could be hit by some rain. The queen has been having trouble getting around lately, with what the palace describes as “episodic mobility issues”, limiting her public appearances in recent months.
The news that the Queen could not attend Saturday’s concert did not dampen the party spirit among the crowd.
“It’s a magical experience… (that will) never happen again in our lives and it’s just amazing to be a part of,” said Sam Ahcquoim, from Cornwall, south-west England. “I was really, really excited and can’t wait to come in and start dancing now.”
The sovereign also opted not to compete in the Epsom Derby on Saturday. Instead, she was represented at the prestigious annual horse race by her daughter Princess Anne, who appeared with her family in the royal box while the crowd cheered and waved Union flags.
The Queen is widely known as a keen horse lover and has only missed the Epsom Derby a handful of times. On Saturday, five of her former racehorses were paraded and 40 jockeys who had ridden for the Queen formed an honor guard before the national anthem was played.
“She has been breeding horses for over 60 years. She knows all the bloodlines and she’s won a lot of races and she’s very knowledgeable,” Frankie Dettori, who lined part of the course with other jockeys, told the BBC.
“I’m sure she will find a TV today and watch live because she loves the derby so much,” he added.
It was the second time in as many days that the Queen’s mobility issues have deprived the crowds of a chance to see her.
On Friday, the Queen skipped a special Thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in her honor. Palace officials said she experienced “some discomfort” at events the day before, including being waved out of Buckingham Palace by a large crowd.
Prince Harry and his wife Meghan were among nearly 50 members of the royal family who gathered in St Paul’s on Friday to honor the absent head of state. It was the couple’s first public appearance in the UK since stepping down from royal duties and relocating to California two years ago.
In another sign of the thawing of relationships, royal accounts on Twitter wished Harry and Meghan’s daughter Lilibet a happy first birthday. Lilibet turned one year old on Saturday. She and her older brother Archie have yet to show up during this trip.
“Happy 1st Birthday to Lilibet!” the royal family account tweeted.
Meanwhile, other members of the royal family traveled to Wales and Northern Ireland as part of celebrations across Britain
William and his wife Kate took two of their three children – 8-year-old Prince George and 7-year-old Princess Charlotte – to Cardiff Castle in Wales before hosting a separate concert in the castle grounds in honor of the Queen.
The Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, visited a 1950s-style seaside funfair in Belfast. Edward tried his hand at a pint of Guinness at a diner while Sophie watched a dance performance from the 50’s and 60’s.
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