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Queen’s Jubilee. Parade, picnics and surprise appearance of Elizabeth II for the end of the jubilee

It was not known if the 96-year-old monarch, who has difficulty walking, would make a public appearance again this Sunday for the end of her jubilee festivities. And yet: Elizabeth II made a surprise appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on the last day of celebrations for the 70th anniversary of her historic reign

Accompanied by her heirs Prince Charles, 73, and William, soon to be 40, with wives and children, embodying the future of the monarchy, she greeted the tens of thousands of people massed on the Mall, the avenue leading to the palace. Leaning on a cane, dressed in green, she stayed while the anthem “God Save The Queen” was played, then left.

The curtain has thus officially fallen on the festivities, after a huge parade in London this Sunday and tens of thousands of patriotic lunches between neighbors (Jubilee lunches). These, however, were marked by a largely absent queen due to her declining health.

A video with Paddington Bear before the concert

Elizabeth II, known for her sense of duty but also her humor, had however reserved a nice surprise for her subjects on Saturday evening: she had shot a short video where she had tea with Paddington bear, a clumsy icon of British children’s literature . She then beat time with a silver spoon on her porcelain cup, synchronized with the opening of the giant concert which was opening in front of Buckingham Palace. The video, in the vein of the one she shot in 2012 for the opening of the London Olympics, had already been viewed more than 2 million times on Youtube by Sunday morning.

The outdoor concert on Saturday evening brought together a host of stars, from the group Queen + Adam Lambert to Alicia Keys and Rod Stewart, via Andrea Bocelli, Duran Duran and Diana Ross.

The Crown Prince, Charles, 73, paid tribute to his “Majesty, Mum”. “You laugh and cry with us and above all, you have been there for these 70 years,” he said.

The empty golden carriage, with screens

On Sunday, thousands of soldiers, dancers, puppeteers and artists were also to parade through the streets of London to put an end to the celebrations. The 260-year-old golden state carriage used for royal weddings and coronations was expected to open the parade celebrating ‘Queen and country’ with a military parade and then ‘the best times of our lives » (70 years of fashion, music and culture), « the life of the queen » in 12 chapters, before a musical finale.

In the golden carriage, digital images were to be released showing a young 25-year-old Queen Elizabeth II on her way to her coronation in June 1953.

Ed Sheeran was to perform his famous ballad Perfect in honor of the Queen and Prince Philip, her husband who died last year. With a giant dragon, seven double-decker buses and corgi dog puppets, the Queen’s favourites, also at the party.

A “one-of-a-kind” opportunity

Despite the risk of rain, more than 10 million people had also planned to participate in Jubilee lunches and picnics, joyfully celebrating the historic reign of an extremely popular queen, both close and mysterious, reassuring symbol of stability in a century of great upheaval.

In Windsor, some 3,000 people were expected around 488 tables on the driveway leading to the castle where the Queen resides.

Many of the participants in the celebrations which lasted four days, taking advantage of a major holiday weekend, were aware of the historical dimension of the moment. Never has a British monarch reigned for so long and it is unlikely that this record of 70 years of reign will be broken in the future.

“It’s a unique occasion, it will never happen again,” explained Julie Blewitt, 56, who came from the north of England for the festivities. “It won’t be the same without the Queen.”

Less present, the queen makes way for Charles

Elizabeth II appeared on the first day of the festivities looking radiant but frail, leaning on a cane on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with 17 members of the royal family.

But due to “a certain discomfort”, she was absent on Friday at a religious service in her honor at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. On Saturday, this horse racing enthusiast also did not attend the famous Epsom Derby, which she had almost never missed.

Her heir, Charles, represents her more and more often. Transition is underway, and while the Queen has no intention of stepping down, true to her 1947 promise to serve her subjects all her life, she is preparing them for what comes next. “We look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm,” she had written to them before the Jubilee celebrations.

The succession promises to be delicate: Charles is much less popular than his mother, with 50% favorable opinions against 75%. Only 32% of Britons think he will make a good king (YouGov, April 2022). And the monarchy has been challenged during recent trips by members of the royal family, on the slave past of the British Empire.

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