Thousands of people cheered Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday as they appeared on the porch of Buckingham Palace on the first day of celebrations to mark the 70th anniversary of the British monarchy on the throne.
The presence of the 96-year-old queen at the Platinum Jubilee, a milestone never reached by a British king before, was in doubt due to illness and recent mobility problems.
But the pigeon, dressed in a blue robe, clutches his hand to his walking stick, saluting the century-old trooping The Color Military Parade in central London as the royal standard flies in the bright sun.
After the salute of the gun and the fly-past of the military aircraft, he appeared for the second time with his immediate heirs, Prince Charles, William and George, and close family members.
The mall downstairs was ablaze with red, white and blue union flags, with some Royal fans camping for several days to stay in the main position to show off their pomp and splendor.
But many acknowledge that an era has come to an end that some believe could be the last major public event of its long reign.
“We know this is a special occasion because it may be the last day we will see the king at a public event,” ambulance service worker Gilbert Falkner, 65, told AFP after traveling from Scotland.
Harry, Megan Low Profile
Recognition of the Queen’s unprecedented reign has drawn tribute from political and religious leaders around the world, including the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fনin in Northern Ireland.
Michelle O’Neill’s message, praising the Queen’s “significant” contribution to the peace process, was unimaginable before the 1998 peace agreement, which ended years of violence against British rule.
Sean Fein was the political wing of the Irish Republican Army paramilitary group that ousted the Queen’s cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, in 1979.
The Queen, a fierce cavalryman, had earlier taken a personal salute at the Horse Guards Parade, a short ride down the mall where King Henry VIII had once won.
But his 73-year-old son and heir, Prince Charles, set foot this year, in the latest public sign of his future role as king.
He was joined in the parade of the 1st Battalion Irish Guard’s colorful or regimental flag by his sister Princess Anne, 61, and his eldest son Prince William, 39, both in formal uniforms.
Charles’ youngest son, Prince Harry, and his wife, Meghan, were seen by members of the senior royal family on a rare visit from California.
They kept a low profile and the Queen’s disrespectful second son, Prince Andrew, 62, did not join them.
At night, the Queen will be at Windsor Castle, west of London, to attend more than 3,000 Beacons across the country and Commonwealth Leadership Ceremony in 54 countries.
Elizabeth was a 25-year-old princess when she succeeded her father, King George VI, in 1952, bringing a rare touch of glamor to a devastated nation recovered from World War II.
Seventy years later, he is now the only emperor most known in Britain, and a permanent figure through often turbulent times.
Britain’s first and most likely only platinum jubilee will see street parties, pop concerts and parades until Sunday.
It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post.
On Sunday, the climax of a huge public pageant involving 6,000 performers – again from the balcony of the palace – could make its final appearance.
On Wednesday, the Queen thanked everyone involved in organizing community events in Britain and around the world and said she was “inspired by the good wishes” shown to her.
“I … hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on what has been achieved in the last 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm,” he added.
The jubilee, held against the backdrop of rising inflation, which has plagued many Britons, is not only a respite for the public, but also a world event, two years after the Covid attack.
Hillary Matthews, 70, said: “All the horrors that are going on in the world have been left behind for a day and we can really enjoy the Queen’s celebration.”
But Jayanti will also welcome a return to normalcy for the royal family.
Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, created a shockwave in early 2020 by moving to North America, from where they publicly criticized royal life.
In April last year, the queen lost her 73-year-old husband, Prince Philip, and was forced to sit alone at her funeral due to coronavirus restrictions.
Since then, he has struggled with his health, and also the consequences of Andrew’s links to convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghisline Maxwell.
Andrew, who settled a U.S. citizen’s claim for sexual harassment in February, has been effectively removed from his royal duties.
The focus is on the growing legacy, and the future home of the monarchy and the other 14 Commonwealth countries where the queen is also the head of state.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)