The Queen appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony flanked by the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge to officially mark the end of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Thousands lined The Mall and sung the National Anthem as the monarch waved to the crowds.
Alongside Her Majesty was her son Prince Charles and wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as Prince William and the Cambridge family. Dressed in green, the Queen’s appearance lasted less than three minutes.
It came moments after hitmaker Ed Sheeran appeared on stage to sing his song Perfect. A montage of video clips of the Queen throughout the years played as the pop superstar sang the emotional track while playing the guitar.
Speaking ahead of his performance on the BBC, he told Anita Rani: “For me, this is kind of like a full circle, nostalgia moment because this is the event that I picked up guitar at 20 years ago after seeing Eric Clapton playing on stage. And then I got to play it 10 years ago for the Diamond Jubilee. It’s really really nice to be back, it’s just a great atmosphere here.”
It marked the end of a four-day Platinum Jubilee celebration to mark 75 years of Queen Elizabeth II on the throne. And the appearance was the first time the 96-year-old had been seen in public since Thursday, the first day of the celebrations.
There had been question marks about whether she would be able to attend the final day of celebrations. But at around 4.30pm the flag at Buckingham Palace was raised, marking her arrival from Windsor Castle.
On-lookers have now paid emotional tributes to the Her Majesty after she made her appearance. Paula and Patrick Queenan, from Radlett in Hertfordshire, said the Queen and the royal family coming out on to the balcony was the best part of the jubilee celebrations.
Mrs Queenan, 57, told the PA news agency: “Seeing the Queen come out on the balcony was amazing. We didn’t know if she’d come or not. This was the first day that I’ve been here and this was the real highlight.”
Mr Queenan, 58, added: “I came for the fly past on Thursday and the atmosphere was fantastic. Our daughter and her fiancé came down from Sheffield today. They’re both doctors and so they’re going to head back now and they’re on duty tonight.
“We had a street party on Friday, the whole street came to ours and sang the national anthem. Seeing the Queen has been the best bit of this week.”
The Platinum Party at the Palace was the most watched programme of the year, the BBC said. The peak viewing figure of 13.4 million was a 74.3% share of the audience.