A huge concert honoring Queen Elizabeth II’s seventy-year reign took place outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday night, with many stars at stake.
A host of stars, including legendary British band Queen, pumped up crowds in London on Saturday with a huge concert to celebrate the year 70 years reign by Elizabeth II, but in the absence of the queenweary.
Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Duran Duran… The biggest names in pop or classical music performed on the stage in front of Buckingham Palace for this show, which closed the third and penultimate day of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations, a longevity unmatched in the UK .
Queen, with Adam Lambert on vocals, kicked off the evening with some of his hits including “We are the Champions” to a crowd of 22,000 waving Union Jack flags, as well as Crown Prince Charles and his eldest son William, joined by his wife Kate and two their children. 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,” Queen guitarist Brian May told the BBC, 20 years after he made his name performing the national anthem “God Save the Queen” on the palace roof for the 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.
The heir to the crown, Prince Charles, 73, paid a lively tribute to “Her Majesty”, who is also his “mother”. “Thank you” for this “whole life of service to others,” he said to a cheering crowd. “You laughed and cried with us and most importantly you were there for those 70 years,” he added, recalling the promise Elizabeth made when she was 21 to become a princess to serve her subjects throughout her life.
Despite her health concerns, the Queen shows no desire to abdicate, even as she increasingly hands over to her eldest son to fill in for her. His grandson William made a plea for the planet in front of a palace that served as a backdrop for majestic illuminations. A symbol of stability in a century of upheaval, the immensely popular Elizabeth II ascended the throne on February 6, 1952 at the age of 25.
Many previously recorded tributes from celebrities such as James Bond actor Daniel Craig, former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama and pop legend Elton John also streamed throughout the evening, providing a moving rendition of “Your Song”.
American diva Diana Ross, 78, “delighted to have been asked to perform on such an important occasion,” concluded the two-and-a-half hour evening celebrating the UK and Commonwealth countries’ contribution to music. Environment, sports and musical theater for 70 years.
A joyful brace of patriotic unity amid a cost of living crisis, the anniversary celebrations last through Sunday thanks to a long four-day bank holiday weekend. The Queen has only appeared on the first day on Thursday, cheering twice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
But after suffering “discomfort” she missed Friday’s service in her honor at Saint Paul’s Cathedral. Despite her passion for horses, she also gave up going to the famous Epsom Derby horse race on Saturday, which she very rarely missed. His presence for Sunday’s curtain call has not been confirmed.
Among those absent from Saturday’s concert were Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who are from California but have chosen to celebrate the first birthday of their daughter Lilibet, who would have met the Queen for the first time, in private.
On Sunday, rain could spoil the party when tens of thousands are planning 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 is supposed to sing his famous ballad “Perfect” in honor of the Queen.
Many in attendance at the Jubilee celebrations were aware that this might be the last time they would see their sovereign. “She is our last queen. And I think she’s a wonderful queen,” Wendy Flynn, a stay-at-home mum, told AFP at a street fair in London.
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