As the much-anticipated Platinum Jubilee celebrations came to a close on Sunday, Queen Elizabeth made a surprise appearance alongside her heirs.
After the Royal Standard was hoisted at Buckingham Palace, announcing the arrival of the Queen, the 96-year-old queen came out onto the balcony to take in the festivities.
In a memorable moment that marked the monarchy’s future, she was accompanied by Prince Charles, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis.
The family sang along to the national hymn, “God Save the Queen.” As George gazed up at his great-granny and she back at him warmly, red, white, and blue fireworks burst off.
The narrative of the Queen’s 70-year reign was told through each of the seven decades at the extravagant event on the streets of London on Sunday afternoon, incorporating street theatre, dance, circus, and music, as well as a 21-foot puppet dragon! Sheeran, who led the musical tribute, sang in honour of the Queen. The royal family was also present, with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis sitting in the first row between their parents, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
While the Queen celebrated Trooping the Colour on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Thursday, she has been unable to attend all of the festivities commemorating her 70 years on the throne due to mobility concerns.
The Duchess of Cambridge told a guest at a reception hosted by the previous Lord Mayor at Guildhall on Friday that the Queen was “fine” after a long day of Trooping the Colour.
According to PA, Kate added, “Yes, she [the Queen] was alright, it was just extremely exhausted yesterday,” adding that the monarch “had had a lovely, lovely time.”
Queen Elizabeth did not attend the Epsom Derby on Saturday, but she did watch it on television. The Queen did not attend the Platinum Party at the Palace on Saturday night, but she did open the event with a pre-recorded skit featuring none other than Paddington Bear!
The “River of Hope” procession, which saw students from across the United Kingdom unite to carry 200 silk flags featuring artwork depicting children’s hopes for the planet over the next 70 years, was also a highlight of the event, as was the military parade on Sunday, which featured 2,750 soldiers from the United Kingdom Armed Forces alongside military personnel from across the Commonwealth.
The royal pageant, which is the Queen’s fourth since her father, King George VI, died in February 1952, is reported to have cost up to $18 million to organise. In 1809, the first royal pageant was conducted in honour of George III to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his reign, which included a great fete and a firework show at Buckingham Palace.
This once-in-a-lifetime occasion (Queen Elizabeth is the first monarch to enjoy a Platinum Jubilee!) was marked with four days of festivities across the United Kingdom. Aside from Trooping the Colour, the royals attended a thanksgiving ceremony at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, the Derby horse race on Saturday, and a pop concert on Sunday.