A group of royal marines played the national anthem, “God save the queen,” with the audience singing as the queen stared into the huge crowd, stretching as far as the eye could see.
The Queen was last seen in public on Thursday, the first day of the celebration during her record platinum jubilee. Following that appearance, also on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the palace issued a statement stating that the Queen was retiring from some events after experiencing “some discomfort”. She returned to Windsor Castle, which is now her main base.
As the jubilee long weekend drew to a close, the Queen sent a message of thanks.
In a statement from the palace, sung by Elizabeth R., the Queen said: “When it comes to celebrating seventy years as your Queen, there is no guide to follow. He really is the first. But I was humiliated and deeply moved that so many people took to the streets to celebrate my platinum jubilee.
“Although I may not have personally attended every event, my heart was with all of you; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, with the support of my family.
“I have been inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship that has been so evident in recent days, and I hope that this renewed sense of community will be felt for many years to come.”
The Queen’s Sunday appearance was not scheduled. But royal eagle-eyed fans in the palace on the last day of the four-day celebration noticed that the flag of the Royal Standard, which flies only when the monarch is in residence, was raised above Buckingham Palace in the afternoon.
The palace said that there would be “surprises” on the last day, but it is not clear whether it will be the performance of the 96-year-old British monarch, who withdrew from other events.
However, she managed to be the star of the concert in the palace on Saturday night, where she performed in a recorded sketch with Paddington Bear.
Crowds gathered in the palace and nearby streets on Sunday for the jubilee election, a carnival that meandered through the streets and included the Gold State Coach, a complex carriage that takes eight horses to pull, and even then they move at a brisk pace. A shot of the queen was projected on his windows, so it looked like she was sitting in a carriage.
Harry and Megan, Duke of the Duchess of Sussex, did not appear alongside other members of the royal family who attended Sunday’s ceremony. They remained silent during the long jubilee weekend, appearing only once in public during the Thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands took part in street parties over the weekend for the “Great Jubilee Lunch”, some of which ended earlier due to, well, British time. Street parties, a tradition that began after the First World War, are common during great royal occasions.
Buckingham Palace said more than 85,000 people had signed up to host the big jubilee lunches, and Prince Charles and Camilla were placing a bag of food at the Oval Cricket Ground in London.
At one in southwest London, there was a lot of socializing because the neighbors participated in a cake baking competition. There was no sign of platinum pudding – the official dessert of the occasion, which takes five hours to prepare – but there were face painting and a bit of street badminton. A local fire truck appeared and firefighters helped the youth shoot other children, delighting everyone.
Looking at the scene, Kwame Gyamfi, 43, a mechanical design engineer, said that street parties, which do not happen so often, are “necessary for people to gather. “People have been imprisoned for almost two years,” he said, referring to coronavirus pandemic.
There were many parties in Colchester, a city in the south-east of England founded by the Romans – partly because as one of the oldest “cities” in England it received the status of “city” to mark the jubilee (meaning more funds for the city treasury).
Lin Gildea, a retired director who organized one of the big lunches, smiled with quiet pleasure as neighbors brought plates of poppy seed cakes, Victoria’s sponge, Chelsea buns – and cans of beer, bottles of sparkling and pots of real tea.
And the food arrived until the tables groaned.
Gildea thought the Big Lunch was just another gift from the monarch – an opportunity to make people happy – and talk about real estate values and travel time.
“I’m not a great royalist, but this queen is one in a million,” she said.