Queen Elizabeth II appeared on the famous balcony of Buckingham Palace on Thursday, on the first day of celebrations for her 70 years of reign, cheered by tens of thousands of people massed near the palace in London.

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The 96-year-old sovereign, dressed in a blue ensemble verging on mauve, leaned motionless on a cane. She was accompanied by the Duke of Kent, a cousin colonel of the Scots Guards – one of the elite regiments of the British Royal Guard – who greeted participants in the annual ‘Salute to the Colours’ military parade.

The sovereign is due to return to the balcony a little later, for an aerial overview of the Royal Air Force, this time accompanied by members of the royal family who have official functions and their children.

Never has a British monarch reigned so long, hence the importance for the country of celebrating this Platinum Jubilee of a queen who is still extremely popular. For many Britons who have always known her, Elizabeth II has been a symbol of stability and unity for 70 years.

The palace did not confirm the appearance on the balcony of the sovereign, who has difficulty walking, until late Wednesday.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was the monarch’s first appearance since 2019 on this balcony, which has projected the image of the British monarchy for over a century. In the past, up to 40 people had flocked there, but the Queen decided this year that only those “working” for the monarchy could come and greet there with their children, i.e. 18 people.

Around her are expected Prince Charles, heir to the Crown and his wife Camilla, Prince William, second in the order of succession and his wife Kate, Princess Anne, daughter of the Queen, and her husband, as well as the youngest son of Elizabeth II, Edward, and his wife, as well as three cousins ​​of the sovereign. William and Edward’s children will also be present.

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who have settled in California since distancing themselves from the monarchy two years ago, were not allowed on the balcony, nor was Prince Andrew, the sovereign’s youngest son, deprived of any official function since accusations of sexual assault which he got rid of by paying several million dollars to his accuser.