The big day for the Queen of England and fellow Britons has finally arrived, grand preparations for which have been going on for long. The four-day long celebration of events to mark the diamond jubilee of Britain's Queen kicked off in royal style today Saturday, June 02, 2012.
It is the Epsom Derby which launches the nationwide festivities in Britain. As per schedule, Queen Elizabeth II, 86 arrived to a spectacular welcome today at the Epsom Derby in southern England to watch one of the racing calendar's wealthiest events.
Queen Elizabeth with the Duke of Edinburgh,
shaking hands with people at the Epsom Derby
on June 2, 2012 as part of her Diamond Jubilee
celebrations. Credit: Telegraph.co.uk
Queen Elizabeth looked elegant wearing a royal blue coat, a matching hat and a while silk dress with floral detail reports People. She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh and her granddaughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.
The Queen was lustily cheered by tens of thousands of well-wishers. In the current Derby, unlike last year's race, the monarch has not entered her horse nor in the other six featured races. However, she is doing the honors of presenting the winning prizes in the renamed Diamond Jubilee Coronation Cup.
Malls near Buckingham Palace decked. Stands set up
on the Mall, near Buckingham Palace, in anticipation
of the Queen's Jubilee celebrations. Credit: Matt
A 13,000 strong crowd led by Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins joined in singing "God Save The Queen." Jenkins, who was part of the Band of the Royal Marines said proudly: "I would have stood there in the pouring rain to have sung that, it was such an honor." According to him it was a day he will never forget. “There's such a sense of celebration in the air, everybody's really proud and happy and, I think, inspired by this," he added.
This Diamond jubilee is rare as only one monarch has celebrated it before and that was Queen Victoria, Queens Elizabeth’s great-great-great-grandmother way back in 1897. The current Queen was barely 25, when she ascended the British throne on the death of her father King George VI in 1952.
Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey the following year. According to latest polls support for British monarchy is high, helped in no small measure by last year's Prince William and Kate Middleton wedding.
After the Epsom Derby, the festivities will then move on to London. The extended bank holiday will comprise of a River Thames pageant on Sunday, June 03. Massive crowds are expected to line up along the river to enjoy a breathtaking flotilla of 1,000 boats from around the globe.
The flotilla will be moving along the River Thames to escort the Queen and her 92-year-old husband Prince Philip on a royal barge. This is understood to be the largest show of pageantry in 350 years, reports Reuters.
Meanwhile dozens of street parties have also been planned all over Northern Ireland, which millions plan on attending in honor of the Queen, including one outside Prime Minister David Cameron's office, as part of a "Big Jubilee Lunch.”
The following day Monday, June 04 a star-studded concert featuring music legends Paul McCartney and Elton John will entertain the Royals including Queen and Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Meanwhile, jubilee beacons will be lighting up hilltops across UK.
The celebrations will conclude on Tuesday, June 05 with a thanks giving service at Saint Paul's Cathedral on Tuesday June, 05, 2012, a carriage procession through central London and a fly-past by present and former Royal Air Force aircraft.
Source: NBC Chicago/RTE News
Queen Elizabeth at the Epsom Derby -2 June 2012