Queen describes Jubilee weekend as 'humbling experience'

 

At the close of four days of celebrations to mark her 60 years on the throne, more than a million revellers gathered to see the Queen on the Buckingham Palace balcony, flanked by the most senior members of her Royal family.

"We want the Queen," they chanted, showing their humourous resolve with a rendition of "Singing in the Rain".

When she finally arrived, they erupted. Spontaneous chants of the national anthem rang out, and a feu de joie was delivered for only the second time in Her Majesty's reign. Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancaster bombers roared over Buckingham Palace and gun salutes shook the air.

For her part, the Queen said she had found the Diamond Jubilee celebrations a "humbling experience". "It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere," she said. "I hope that memories of all this year's happy events will brighten our lives for many years to come."

Earlier, the Royal family drove to St Paul's Cathedral for a Thanksgiving service. The sermon was delivered by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who praised her "quality of joy in the happiness of others". After the service there was a reception and a carriage procession and a flypast. Over the course of the day, tributes poured in from across the globe, including a personal message from President Obama.

David Cameron said: "This is something that has brought the country together and you definitely notice that in my constituency, in the smallest villages that I went to. In the whole country, everyone's talking to each other, everyone is chatting with their neighbours.

It brings communities of people together, whatever your politics."

There was one downbeat note. The Duke of Edinburgh, 90, was taken to the King Edward VII Hospital on Monday with a bladder infection. His youngest son, the Earl of Wessex, visited yesterday and said he was "feeling better". The Countess of Wessex added: "He's in good spirits, he's on good form."

It has been impossible to escape the festivities, which began on Saturday with the Queen's visit to the Epsom Derby. On Sunday millions braved miserable weather to see the Pageant on the Thames.

The Queen stood throughout the procession, refusing to sit on the red thrones at the front of the purposebuilt barge Gloriana. On Monday, as the last street parties drew to a close, 17 million viewers watched coverage of the Diamond Jubilee concert, with performers including Sir Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder.

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