With a huge parade through the streets of London, the curtain fell on Sunday over celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the historic reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which were kept in the background due to her deteriorating health.
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Buckingham Palace did not say if the 96-year-old king, who has difficulty walking, would appear again at the end of the parade that would end outside the palace with the national anthem “God Save the Queen” (which God save the Queen).
About 10,000 soldiers, dancers, puppeteers and artists are expected. The 260-year-old Golden State Trolley, traditionally used for weddings and coronations, will open the show. Buckingham Palace has said the Queen will not be there, but digital photos will bring back the magic of her coronation in June 1953.
Also expected at the end is Ed Sheeran, in honor of the always popular Queen Elizabeth, and her husband Prince Philip, who died last year.
Hoping the rain won’t spoil the party, more than 10 million people are also slated to take part in a jubilee lunch among neighbors on Sunday, to gleefully celebrate the historic reign of a near and mysterious queen, a reassuring symbol of stability in a century of great upheaval.
Taking advantage of the grand weekend, many of those participating in the four-day celebrations were already familiar with the historical dimension of this platinum jubilee. A British monarch has never ruled for this long, and this record is unlikely to be broken in the future: Crown Prince Charles is 73, and his son William, who is second in line of succession, is soon to be 40.
“This is a unique opportunity and it will never be repeated,” said Julie Beloit, 56, who came from northern England to attend the festivities. “It wouldn’t be the same without the Queen.”
Radiant but vulnerable on Thursday, Elizabeth II leaned on a cane on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with 17 members of the royal family, to greet the tens of thousands of people gathered near the palace.
But due to “some annoyance,” she was absent Friday from a religious ceremony in her honor at St Paul’s Cathedral, attended by 2,000 guests including 50 members of the royal family.
On Saturday, this horse-racing enthusiast also didn’t attend the famous Epsom Derby, where jockeys staged an honor guard for Princess Anne, who represented her. The Queen, who had barely missed this appointment in her 70 years of reign, saw it on TV.
Prince Charles, heir to the throne, represents him more and more.
The transition is underway, and while the Queen does not intend to step down, and in keeping with her 1947 promise to serve her subjects for the rest of her life, she is preparing them for what comes next.
“We look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm,” she wrote to them at the start of the jubilee celebrations. Already in February, the date when I had officially reached 70 years of reign, I wrote to them: “When my son Charles becomes king, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support you gave me. Elizabeth II had at that time decided a sensitive question in the kingdom United, which is the future title of Camilla, who will become the Queen Consort.
The succession may not be simple, however, and Charles is less popular than his mother, with 50% in favour, against 75%. Only 32% of Britons think he will become a good king (YouGov, April 2022). The monarchy has been challenged during recent travels by members of the royal family about the slave past in the British Empire.
“They have to reinvent themselves for the new generations,” Mark Cornell, who came from northern England for the Jubilee, remarked, acknowledging he was not an unconditional fan.
“Total creator. Evil zombie fan. Food evangelist. Alcohol practitioner. Web aficionado. Passionate beer advocate.”