Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II: Closing Ceremony

Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II: Closing Ceremony

LONDON (AP) — A colorful street show showcasing Britain’s diversity paraded through central London on Sunday, the final day of a long weekend holiday in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign . Royal fans were hoping to catch another glimpse of the 96-year-old monarch later at Buckingham Palace, where the parade ends.

With the bells ringing at Westminster Abbey, a spectacular military parade featuring 200 horses began the ceremony as they marched down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. They flanked the gilt-gold State Coach, a horse-drawn carriage that carried the Queen to her coronation 69 years ago.

The Queen was not taking part in the pageant – although a virtual version of her, taken from archival video of her 1953 coronation, was shown in the coach windows.

Thousands of performers were to parade along a three kilometer (nearly two mile) route, telling the story of the Queen’s life with dancing, vintage cars, vibrant costumes, music from carnival and giant puppets.

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’ll never happen again. It’s something special, so if you want to do it, you have to go big or go home,” said Shaun Wallen, 50.

The Queen 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 had tea with a computer-animated Paddington Bear — and revealed that, just like the furry character, she loves marmalade sandwiches and likes to keep them in her purse.

Diana Ross and rock band Queen headlined the all-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 sing “God Save The Queen” outside Buckingham Palace as the competition’s finale. Many are hoping the monarch will make a second balcony appearance to cap off the weekend of celebrations.


Jo Kearney contributed to this report.


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

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