By Selah Hennessy
Queen Elizabeth led a carriage procession through the streets of London Tuesday, the last day of celebrations to mark her 60-year reign, and the public poured out to view the spectacle.
The day began with a thanksgiving service at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The spiritual leader of the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, delivered the sermon.
“Our queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others. She has responded with just the generosity St. Paul speaks of in showing honor to countless local communities and individuals of every background and class and race. She has made her public happy,” he said.
Later in the day, the queen rode in an open carriage through the streets of central London, where tens of thousands of people were waiting to catch sight of her. Many were dressed in the national colors red, white and blue, and waving British flags.
The queen then made her way to the balcony of Buckingham Palace, where she waved to her supporters below. She was joined by members of her family, including her son and heir-to-the-throne, Prince Charles, and her grandsons, William and Harry.
Prince Philip, the queen’s husband of 64 years, was absent from the celebrations. He was hospitalized on Monday with a bladder infection.
Tuesday was the last of four days of celebrations, which included a 1,000-boat pageant down the River Thames on Sunday and a concert on Monday.
The occasion marks 60 years since the 86-year-old monarch came to the throne. In London, those who support her told VOA they were happy with how her so-called Diamond Jubilee has been marked.
“It’s been excellent. I’m very proud, very proud – especially the concert last night. It looked excellent,” said one Londoner.
Some anti-monarchist demonstrators were also on London’s streets Tuesday.
One campaigner said he wanted to shed light on the power wielded by the British establishment.
“I’m parodying it because I think it is on some level very amusing and can be distressing at times to watch how much people seem to have been manipulated, myself included,” he said.
Queen Elizabeth came to the throne when she was 25 years old, succeeding her father, King George, after his death in 1952. She was coronated the following year.