Jubilation all round!
THE UK was awash with the national red, white and blue colours throughout the magnificent “Royal Weekend four-day spree to celebrate The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
Not even a miserably wet Sunday could put a damper on Sunday’s colourful River Thames pageant, featuring a 1,000-strong flotilla, led by Queen Elizabeth 11 and Prince Philip in the Royal Barge.
More than one million people lined the bridges and banks to acclaim the procession as it wended its way fromBatterseaBridgetoWestminsterin dreadful conditions.
The only downside came the following morning when it was revealed that Prince Philip had been taken to hospital with a bladder infection and kept in for treatment. He was still there last night (Thursday) but was said to be on the mend and in fine spirits.
There had been smiles all round the previous day at Epsom as Her Highness, a passionate race-horse owner but without a runner this year, kicked off her 60th anniversary celebrations by cheering on the favourite, Camelot, to success in a thrilling finish.
And there were even more cheers on a bright, sunny, Monday evening – to start with, at least – at the spectacular Royal Jubilee Concert, with music depicting all 60 years of The Queen’s reign.
It was organised by Take That leader Gary Barlow, and it was staged right in front ofBuckinghamPalacebefore a selected 20,000 audience, seated in specially-erected stands, who had won tickets in a ballot.
Robbie Williams set the tone by opening the show with Let Me Entertain You, and a procession of superstars followed, including four pop knights of the realm – Sir Tom Jones, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney.
The former Beatle closed the star-studded extravaganza with a lively set, bringing the curtain down with a stirring rendition of Live And Let Die and a mass singalong of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.
The concert was watched live by around 250,000 people, and The Mall – the ceremonial route to the palace – was filled with revellers decked out in the national colours and waving flags, enjoying the entertainment on giant screens. Millions also watched the show live on BBC.
Senior royals in the stands included Prince William, his wife Catherine and brother Prince Harry, while Prime Minister David Cameron and Anglican leader Rowan Williams were in the royal box.
Commemorative beacons were lit throughout the land from 10pm, and the once-in-a-lifetime show concluded less than an hour later with The Queen lighting the National Beacon.
Earlier, compere Rolf Harris, the Australian all-round entertainer and artist, who has become a British treasure over several decades, spoke for millions of loyal, royal subjects when he told the crowd: “We’re here to celebrate a generous and compassionate lady, who has given 60 years of service to the people ofGreat Britainand the Commonwealth.
“She’s been an inspiration to millions; she’s touched hearts throughout the world – a living testimony to the power of kindness, dedication, tolerance and loyalty.
“A lady who has upheld the best of British by keeping calm and carrying on. Your Majesty, we thank you for 60 wonderful years.”
It struck the right chord all over, and the roars of approval lasted long and loud. And they were repeated later on when Prince Charles offered a touching tribute to his “Mummy”, leading the giant crowd in sending three deafening cheers in appreciation of The Queen’s six-decade reign.
The unique, four-day celebrations also saw thousands of street parties held in counties throughout the land and, whatever the weather, flags were waved and cheers and laughter rang out, from the very young to the aged.
Her Royal Highness closed the unforgettable series of events on Tuesday by attending a thanksgiving service atSt Paul’s Cathedral in the morning, followed by a Royal Lunch for Commonwealth heads of state at Marlborough House, inPall Mall.
If she ever flagged during the momentous tribute of her long reign, it was never evident and, even without her husband, The Queen made sure the show carried on regardless.
A magnificent tribute by a magnificent lady to those who paid tribute to her!
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