A host of stars, including legendary British band Queen, turned up the heat at a huge concert celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s historic 70-year reign in London on Saturday. It took place in the absence of the weary sovereign.
Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Duran Duran… After the pomp and meditation, the biggest names in pop/rock or classical music marched onto the stage just outside Buckingham Palace for this closing show, the third and penultimate day of the Platinum jubilee celebrations of the 96-year-old sovereign whose longevity is unparalleled in the UK.
Queen + Adam Lambert opened the tribute-punctuated night with the hits “We Will Rock You,” “Don’t Stop Me Now” and “We Are the Champions” in front of a crowd of 22,000 who waved Union Jack flags. as well as Crown Prince Charles and his eldest son William, who came with his wife Kate and two of their children, who also carried pennants.
Tens of thousands of spectators watched the concert without tickets on giant screens in the Mall, a representative artery overlooking the palace.
“It’s wonderful to be back,” said Queen guitarist Brian May, 20 years after making his name on the palace roof by performing the national anthem “God Save the Queen” to mark the sovereign’s golden jubilee. But the real star of the evening, Elizabeth II, was absent due to ill health having preferred to watch the concert on TV, which was broadcast live by the BBC.
Loved for her sense of duty and wry humor, she nevertheless made a surprise appearance in a short humorous video released before kick-off, where she has tea with the game’s clumsy icon, Paddington Bear.
“Happy anniversary, ma’am, and thanks for everything,” he told her. “It’s very nice,” she replies, pulling from her inseparable purse an orange marmalade toast that her guest loves, before tapping his silver spoon to the rhythm of “We Will Rock You” on her china mug.
As enthusiastic as she was, Elizabeth had already given up going to the famous Epsom Derby horse races 30km from London on Saturday, which she very rarely missed. She was represented there by her daughter Princess Anne.
She had already missed service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday after suffering “discomfort” on the first day of Thursday’s celebrations as she, beaming but frail, leaned on a cane, for the military on the balcony of the church Buckingham Palace appeared parade.
Among those absent on Saturday were Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who had traveled from California to attend the anniversary but decided to celebrate their daughter Lilibet’s first birthday, who would have met the Queen for the first time, in peace to celebrate .
American diva Diana Ross, 78, “absolutely delighted to have been invited to such an important occasion” will close this two and a half hour evening to celebrate the contribution of the UK and Commonwealth countries to music, environment, sport and musicals in the last 70 years. The singer will perform again at the Montreux Jazz Festival in July.
A joyful brace of patriotic unity in the livelihood crisis, the anniversary celebrations last through Sunday thanks to a long four-day holiday weekend. The weather has played along so far. Rain is expected on Sunday, however, when tens of thousands plan al fresco lunches between neighbors.
A large parade was expected to end the late afternoon celebrations in London with around 10,000 participants. It ends in front of Buckingham Palace, where Ed Sheeran was supposed to sing his famous ballad “Perfect” in honor of the Queen and her husband Prince Philip, who died last year.
A symbol of stability in a century of upheaval, Elizabeth II ascended the throne on February 6, 1952, at the age of 25. She has walked through history with a steadfastness and dedication for which the British are grateful.
Many in attendance at the Jubilee celebrations were aware that this might be the last time they would see their sovereign. “This is our story and we will never see this again because next time she becomes king she will obviously be our last queen. And I think she’s a wonderful queen,” Wendy Flynn told AFP London.
This article was published automatically. Sources: ats/afp
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