File photo of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth leading the lighting of the principal Jubilee beacon, as part of Platinum Jubilee celebrations, at Windsor Castle, Britain, in London, Britain, June 2, 2022. ― Reuters pic
Saturday, 04 Jun 2022 6:21 PM MYT
LONDON, June 4 ― A pop concert, featuring the likes of singers Alicia Keys and Diana Ross, and the Epsom Derby horse race take centre stage on the third day of Britain’s nationwide celebrations for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
However, the 96-year-old monarch, a huge horse-racing fan and owner of many thoroughbreds, will skip the 243rd running of the Derby because of “episodic mobility problems” that also forced her to miss a thanksgiving service in her honour on Friday.
Her daughter Princess Anne, who competed in the three-day equestrian event in the 1976 Olympics, is expected to stand in for her mother.
Later on Saturday, performers from around the world will entertain some 22,000 people at the Platinum Party at the Palace, while Elizabeth’s son and heir Prince Charles and grandson Prince William will speak.
The queen herself had not been expected to attend.
File photo fireworks exploding above Windsor Castle during the lighting of the Principal Platinum Jubilee Beacon ceremony during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in Windsor, Britain, June 2, 2022. ― Reuters
The concert will also feature a specially recorded performance by Elton John, a performance from rock band Queen + Adam Lambert, and conclude with Diana Ross’s first live appearance in Britain in 15 years.
Queen guitarist Brian May, who played the national anthem from the roof of the palace at a concert for Elizabeth’s golden jubilee in 2002, said the band was happy to have been invited again.
“Then there was a moment when I wondered … after Buckingham Palace roof where can you go? Well …, you will see,” he said.
Another participant, veteran US musician and record producer Nile Rodgers, said he had no idea what he would be playing.
“I look at it like this ― whatever the queen asked me to do or her representatives or whatever, I will do that,” he told BBC TV.
File photo of the Queen along with members of the Royal Family watching the special flypast by Britain’s RAF (Royal Air Force) from Buckingham Palace balcony following the Trooping the Colour parade, as a part of her platinum jubilee celebrations, in London, Britain June 2, 2022. ― Reuters pic
Four days of celebrations to mark the monarch’s record-breaking 70 years on the throne began with a military parade, a Royal Air Force flypast, and the lighting of beacons across Britain and the world.
During Friday’s National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London, Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell used a horse racing analogy in his sermon to pay tribute to the queen.
“Your Majesty, we are sorry that you’re not here with us this morning, but we are so glad that you are still in the saddle,” he said. “And we are glad that there is still more to come. So thank you for staying the course.”
A sideshow to the main celebrations has been Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan making their first public appearance together in Britain since quitting official duties to move to Los Angeles two years ago, during which time their relationship with other royals has become strained.
Notably on Saturday, the official Twitter accounts for the monarch, Prince Charles and Prince William all sent messages almost simultaneously to mark the first birthday of Lilibet, the couple’s daughter who is named after the queen.
Elizabeth had not met her great-granddaughter prior to the trip, and Buckingham Palace has not commented on newspaper reports they had now finally been introduced.
Harry and Meghan have become divisive figures, with supporters regarding them as a breath of fresh air for the tradition-bound monarchy, while critics and many newspapers pour scorn on their behaviour and commercial activities such as striking a deal with global streaming service Netflix.
“So Far Apart”, the Daily Mail newspaper said on its front page about the lack of any obvious interaction between Harry and elder brother William at Friday’s thanksgiving service. ― Reuters