Celebrations of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee have started in the UK as tens of thousands of people gathered in central London to watch a traditional military parade known as Trooping the Colour.
This was the beginning of four days of pomp, parties, and parades to mark the Queen’s record-breaking 70 years on the British throne.
Thousands of wellwishers draped in Union flags, party hats, and plastic tiaras flocked to central London for the parade. Many had slept on the streets to secure a good position.
Queen Elizabeth said in a statement: “Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours, and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth.
“I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”
The 96-year-old monarch, who is suffering from ongoing mobility issues, stayed away from the parade grounds and chose to watch the event from the Buckingham Palace. But she appeared on the balcony of the palace to take a salute of the soldiers returning from the parade.
After the parade, the Queen appeared on the balcony again with other members of the royal family to watch a flypast of over 70 military aircraft.
Opinion polls show the monarch remains hugely popular and respected among British people, with one survey this week showing eight in 10 people held a positive view of her, and another found three-quarters thought she had done a good job as queen.
But not everyone shares a positive view of the monarchy. Anti-monarchy campaign group Republic has put up the message “Make Elizabeth the last” on billboards across Britain. It cited another poll as showing more than half of the public were not interested in the jubilee.
Earlier, the celebratory event was briefly disrupted when a number of people ran out in front of marching soldiers on the Mall before they were dragged away by police. The Metropolitan Police later said several arrests had been made.
PA Media and Reuters contributed to this report.