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Colorful parade, street parties cover the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

LONDON – A colorful street contest highlighting Britain’s diversity paraded through central London on Sunday, the last day of a long holiday weekend in honor of Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th year on the throne. Royal fans were hoping to see another vision of the 96-year-old monarch later at Buckingham Palace, where the parade ends.

With the ringing of bells at Westminster Abbey, a spectacular 200-horse military parade began the ceremony as they marched through the shopping center to Buckingham Palace. They flanked the chariot of the golden state, a horse-drawn carriage that carried the queen to her coronation 69 years ago.

The queen was not taking part in the pageant, although a virtual version of her, taken from an archive video of her coronation in 1953, was shown in the coach’s windows.

Thousands of performers were scheduled to parade along a three-kilometer (almost two-mile) route, telling the story of the queen’s life with dancing, vintage cars, vibrant costumes, carnival music, and giant puppets.

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The most enthusiastic real fans faced the wet and cold weather and camped in the mall overnight to ensure the best view of the pageant. Some came for the celebrities who will perform, while others wanted to be part of a historic moment.

“It simply came to our notice then. It’s something special, so if you’re going to do it, you have to go big or go home, ”said Shaun Wallen, 50.

The queen has not appeared in public for Platinum Jubilee events since Thursday, when she smiled and waved with her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. She has limited her appearances in recent months due to what the palace describes as “episodic mobility issues”. He also had COVID-19 this spring.

Still, she delighted the country when she appeared in a surprise comedy video that opened a concert on Saturday in front of Buckingham Palace. In the video, the monarch was drinking tea with a computer-animated Paddington bear, and revealed that, like the furry character, he liked the jam sandwiches and liked to keep them in his bag.

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Diana Ross and rock band Queen led the star-studded tribute concert on Saturday night, which also featured Rod Stewart, Duran Duran, Alicia Keys and Andrea Bocelli.

Celebrities have paid tribute to the Queen’s decades of service to the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Prince Charles, his eldest son and heir to the throne, highlighted his mother’s role as a symbol of unity and stability over the decades.

Addressing the Queen as “Your Majesty, Mom,” Charles said, “You laughed and cried with us, and most importantly, you have been there for us for these 70 years.”

On Sunday, Charles and his wife, Camilla, mingled with crowds at London’s The Oval Cricket Ground for a “Big Jubilee Lunch”. Millions across the country have also prepared long tables, balloons and picnic food for parties and similar patriotic barbecues.

Later on Sunday, celebrities such as singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran will sing “God Save The Queen” outside Buckingham Palace as the final of the pageant. Many expect the monarch to make a second appearance on the balcony to end the weekend of celebrations.

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Jo Kearney contributed to this report.

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Follow all the AP stories about the British royal family at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii.

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Colorful parade, street parties cover the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

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