London (AFP) – Four days of festivities Honoring Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 70, began Thursday with a display of Britain’s military traditions that stretch from the days of the horse and cannons to the age of jet aircraft.
The official celebrations of the Platinum Jubilee began with Trooping the Color, an annual military review that has celebrated the king’s official birthday since 1760. The Queen gave the salute on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and is expected to join her family again there at the end of the event, when 70 aircraft are set to fly over our heads.
The jubilee is celebrated with a four-day weekend. Celebration of Elizabeth’s reign includes Thanksgiving Friday mass at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, a concert at Buckingham Palace on Saturday and a pageant organized by thousands of performers. from schools and community groups across the country on Sunday afternoons.
Throughout the weekend, thousands of street parties are expected to be held by neighborhood organizations and individuals across the country, repeating the tradition that began with the coronation of the Queen in 1953.
The 96-year-old queen is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the first to accede to the throne, which is seven decades old. The jubilee gives many people – even those who are often indifferent to the monarchy – an opportunity to reflect on the state of the nation and the tremendous changes that occurred during its reign.
Former Prime Minister John Major – one of the Queen’s 14 prime ministers – said the Queen’s strict presence has helped steer the country for decades,
“The Queen has represented ourselves for more than 70 years,” he told the BBC.
In a letter written to mark the jubilee, the Queen thanked the people in Britain and the Commonwealth of Nations involved in organizing the festivities. For many, the occasion is the first opportunity for a big bouquet since the start of the coronavirus pandemic more than two years ago.
“I know that many happy memories will be created on these festive occasions,” Elizabeth said.
“I am still inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and I hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved over the past 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm,” he said.
Congratulations have arrived from world leaders. French President Emmanuel Macron has described Elizabeth as the “golden thread that connects our two countries” and one of the “very few constants” on the international scene.
Former US President Barack Obama referred to the Queen’s “blessing and generosity” during his first visit to the palace. He said he “learned so much from seeing the example she gave to all of us who had the honor to serve.”
“Your life has been a gift, not only to the United Kingdom but to the world,” Obama said in a video message, adding, “I hope the light of your crown continues to dominate.”
The name of the first weekend long event, Trooping the Color, refers to the flag of a regiment or “color” being mobilized through the ranks. Britain’s annual tradition of the Queen’s Birthday is a ceremonial reenactment of the way soldiers were once displayed battle flags to ensure they would recognize a crucial rally point if they became disoriented in combat.
The troops involved come from the Army’s Home Division of the Seven Regiments, which perform ceremonial duties for the Queen. Its members are fully trained soldiers and are often posted abroad when they are not on ceremonial missions.
Each year, a different unit has the honor to collect their color. The spotlight will be on the 1st Battalion of the Irish Guards during the Platinum Jubilee.
Thousands of people, some of whom camped overnight, lined the parade route – many wearing Union Jack flags, party hats or plastic crowns.
Carly Martin, who took a late-night bus from south London with her daughter, said she came to “make memories”.
“You’ll never see this again in your life,” she said. “At least I don’t have, maybe not in my daughter. … Seventy years – that’s all I’ve known.”
Several protesters They were caught after crossing the barricades and on the road to the parade. Animal Rebellion claimed responsibility, saying the protesters were “demanding the restoration of royal lands”.
Cheers and the chirping of hooves as horse-drawn carriages ferried members of the royal family, including Prince William’s wife Kate, and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, from Buckingham Palace to Horseguards Parade, a festive parade about one kilometer (0.6 km) away. Mile).
The Queen is expected to appear twice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, but Prince Charles She played a major role during the event. He climbed on horseback, and saluted also, from the ranks of the Vermilion Guard, on behalf of his mother, along with his sister, Princess Anne, and his son, Prince William.
Elizabeth has had trouble moving around lately, and her entourage has been keen to make things as simple for her as possible.
Senior royals, including Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, traveled in carriages to watch the ceremony from a building overlooking the parade grounds.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex join other members of the royal family for a spectacle. Harry and Meghan traveled from their home in California to take part in the festivities.
Follow the Associated Press’ coverage of Queen Elizabeth II at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii
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