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Queen Elizabeth and her immediate family gathered on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Aaron Chown/PA
UK

Thousands gather at Buckingham Palace for day one of jubilee celebrations

Thousands gathered at Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour ceremony, as royal family greeted them from the palace balcony.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE gathered in London today for the start of a four-day celebration in the UK of Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee.

Spectators flooded the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, with Union Jacks and plastic tiaras in tow, to watch the Trooping the Colour ceremony and to see the Queen and her family on the palace balcony.

Trooping the Colour is essentially a parade of British soldiers and horses in ceremonial dress and traditionally takes place to mark the queen’s official birthday.

Today’s event was led by the Irish Guards, a regiment of the British Army that recruits in part, but not exclusively from, the island of Ireland.

Irish ears twitched this morning when, during commentary on the event, former officer in Irish Guards Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton described the scenes as “a great Mick cocktail”.

Using ‘Mick’ in reference to Irish people has long been considered derogatory, particularly in places with large immigrate Irish populations such as the UK or the US.

Flypast

Eighteen royals stepped out to watch the flypast over the palace, including the Queen’s son and heir to the throne Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Prince William and his wife Kate and their three children.

The six-minute flypast comprised more than 70 aircraft, including Apache helicopters, Typhoons and The Red Arrows.
embedded267244500 Aircraft spell out ’70’ during a flypast Dominic Lipinski / PA Dominic Lipinski / PA / PA
Fifteen RAF Typhoons marked the monarch’s record-breaking reign by flying in the formation of the number 70.

Prince Andrew was not in attendance as he has tested positive for Covid-19.

Elizabeth, who has mobility issues, deputised her usual role in Trooping the Colour to Charles, who inspected the Guardsmen and acknowledged their salute.

The Queen limited those on the balcony for the flypast to working members of her family, two youngest grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – a move she took after “careful consideration” the palace said.

It meant there was no place for Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who caused a royal crisis in 2020 by quitting as senior working members of the family.

Many Britons are embracing the special extended bank holiday weekend of pomp, pageantry and festivities, which will see celebrities and the public gather in tribute to the monarch.

However, not everyone is celebrating: several arrests were made when climate protesters attempted to enter the ceremonial route on The Mall during Trooping the Colour.

Some of the group managed to sit down in the road before being pulled away by officers.

One of those sitting wore a golden crown around a hat, while the other sat facing the soldiers holding a piece of paper.

Another person walked ahead of the band holding a small poster which read “Reclaim Royal Land” above their head.

embedded267244798 The scene on The Mall at Buckingham Palace Aaron Chown / PA Aaron Chown / PA / PA

Queen to miss church service

The Queen will miss the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral after experiencing “some discomfort,” at the Jubilee celebrations, Buckingham Palace announced this evening.

The monarch is skipping the service on Friday “with great reluctance” but will still attend a beacon lighting event at Windsor Castle on Thursday evening, the palace said.

She is believed to have experienced episodic mobility issues during today’s events.

Michelle O’Neill letter

Closer to home, former Northern Ireland first minister Arlene Foster – who was made a dame in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List – has welcomed a letter written by Sinn Féin’s vice president Michelle O’Neill to the queen.
2022-ni-assembly-election-35-390x285 PA PA
O’Neill wrote to Elizabeth last month to praise her “significant” contribution to the peace process and to acknowledge her “dedicated public service to the British people” during her 70 years on the throne.

She thanked the queen for her “warmth and unfailing courtesy” on the occasions when the pair have met and wrote of the “value and respect” she had for the monarch’s contribution to reconciliation

Foster, who served alongside O’Neill at the head of the Stormont Executive, said the Platinum Jubilee celebrated three things – the queen’s public service and dedication, the institution of the monarchy and the concept of Britishness.

With reporting from PA

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