London, June 2 (BNA): Queen Elizabeth thanked everyone who attended her platinum jubilee celebrations ahead of four days of pomp, parties, parades and public holidays to herald the record-breaking 70 years on the British throne.
The government said millions of people across Britain and the world were expected to join the festivities starting on Thursday in honor of the 96-year-old, who has ruled longer than any of her predecessors.
“Thank you to everyone who took part in bringing together communities, families, neighbors and friends to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in the UK and across the Commonwealth,” Elizabeth said in a statement.
“I am still inspired by the goodwill you have shown me, and I hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved over the past seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”
However, in reference to the Queen’s progress in the years and recent “occasional” issues, which have led her to cancel some engagements, Elizabeth’s personal involvement in events may be somewhat limited.
The festivities begin with a parade of colorful troops in central London, and for the first time Elizabeth will salute 1,500 soldiers and officers from the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
Senior members of the royal family, including son and heir apparent Prince Charles, 73, and eldest son Prince William, 39, will perform other ceremonial duties on her behalf, although much attention is focused on those who will not be present.
The second son, Prince Andrew, 62, is not expected to attend.
Her grandson Prince Harry, who now lives in Los Angeles with his American wife Meghan, will also be absent when the royal family gathers on the palace balcony to watch modern and historic Royal Air Force planes fly in after the show.
There will also be a gun salute in London, across Britain and from Royal Navy ships at sea at midday, while in the evening beacons will be lit across the country and the Commonwealth, as the Queen leads a platinum jubilee major lighting at her home of Windsor Castle.
Thursday marks not only the start of the jubilee, but also the 69th anniversary of the coronation of Elizabeth, who became queen after the death of her father, George VI, in February 1952.
Polls show she is still very popular and respected among her subjects, with one poll this week showing that eight out of ten people have a positive view of her, and another study finding that three-quarters think she has done a good job as a queen.
Friday will see a Thanksgiving Mass at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, while on Saturday members of the royal family will attend the Epsom Derby.
Later on, there will be a concert outside Buckingham Palace featuring the likes of rock band Queen, American R&B singer Alicia Keys, and American singer Diana Ross.
On Sunday, officials estimate that more than 16,000 street parties will take place in Britain, and the British government says around 600 “grand jubilee lunches” will be held in 80 countries from Greenland to New Zealand.
The festivities will conclude with a pageant across the British capital.
“The Queen is the great thing about Great Britain,” said Mary Jane Willows, 69, of Cornwall, southwest England, who was camping on Mole Street, leading up to Buckingham Palace, where Union flags are adorned.
“Without the Queen, Britain would be Britain, but she makes it great. She represents everything I’m most proud of.”
However, not everyone will participate in the festivities. The anti-monarchy group Republic, which posts the “Make Elizabeth the Last” message on billboards across Britain, said a survey showed more than half of the public were not interested in the Jubilee.
But for high-profile fans like American Donna Werner, 70, who traveled from Connecticut and was also camping at the mall, the royals and Elizabeth remained captivating.
“She’s just a role model,” said Werner, who regularly comes to Britain for major royal events after she made her first flight in 1986. being a queen.”