Beaming Queen waves to crowds at start of her Jubilee celebrations

UK

The Queen has been seen for the first time during her four-day Platinum Jubilee celebrations on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.

The monarch, 96, took the salute from the Irish Guards alongside the Duke of Kent as thousands of people crowded central London to celebrate 70 years of her reign.

She wore the same pale blue outfit she did for the official Jubilee portrait released on Wednesday and appeared holding a walking stick.

Her Majesty appeared on the balcony again half an hour later with other senior royals for the traditional RAF flypast. It had previously been announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Duke of York would not appear after stepping back from royal duties.

Royal children ride down packed Mall – live Jubilee updates

She waved at the crowds as the Red Arrows flew over central London and formed the number 70 in the sky.

Before Trooping the Colour got underway at 11am, a group of men were dragged off the Mall by police after trying to disrupt marching guards.

More on Platinum Jubilee

Members of the Royal Family travelled to Horse Guards Parade in three carriages, with the first carrying the Duchesses of Cambridge and Cornwall and Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

The second carried the Earl and Countess of Wessex and their two children Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn to the parade ground.

While the third took the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and the Princess Royal’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence to watch the Queen’s Birthday Parade.

More than 1,200 soldiers from the Household Division of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards, 200 horses and 400 musicians then paid tribute to Her Majesty with the usual military spectacle on the first day of the Jubilee celebrations.

The Queen, who has experienced episodic mobility problems in recent months, did not travel to Horse Guards Parade as she has done in previous years and instead waited at Buckingham Palace for the traditional balcony appearance and RAF flypast.

The Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal were on horseback inside the parade ground to take part.

Harry and Meghan allowed to watch parade

The Duchess of Sussex was photographed with Savannah Phillips and Mia Tindall watching the military display from the sidelines.

It is the first time Meghan and Harry have attended Trooping the Colour in two years following their decision to step back as working royals and leave the UK for Los Angeles in January 2020.

Their daughter Lilibet, named after the Queen, turns one on Saturday, which has fuelled speculation the monarch may take time out of official proceedings to spend time with her great-granddaughter for the first time.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie watched the parade from the stands.

Following the parade, an 82-gun salute was fired from Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, which is named after the Queen’s father King George VI.

Meanwhile 124 volleys – an extra 42 for the City of London – came from the Tower of London courtesy of the Honourable Artillery Company.

At 2pm on Thursday town criers will read a proclamation ahead of beacon lighting around the UK and the Commonwealth this evening.

More than 2,000 beacons will be lit in unison at 9.45pm – at the same time as the principal lighting ceremony takes place outside Buckingham Palace.

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A group of men are apprehended by police after storming the Mall

Read more:
Guide to Jubilee celebrations this weekend
New portrait of the Queen released to mark Jubilee
Best moments of the Jubilee so far in pictures

Members of the Royal Family will witness the ‘tree of trees’ being illuminated in London, as Grammy-winning singer Gregory Porter sings the Song for the Commonwealth.

On Friday a thanksgiving service will take place at St Paul’s Cathedral, before the Epsom Derby and Party at the Palace on Saturday evening.

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The Queen was due to attend the races in Surrey, but her appearances have been scaled back amid concerns for her health.

On Sunday a £15m carnival will assemble for the Queen’s Jubilee pageant.

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