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Let the party begin: Queen thanks nation as millions prepare to celebrate Platinum Jubilee
2 June 2022, 00:26 | Updated: 2 June 2022, 22:16
The Queen has thanked the nation on the eve of her historic Platinum Jubilee celebrations as millions come together for four days of festivities.
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After 70 years of service for the country and Commonwealth, well-wishers will take to the streets over the extended bank holiday weekend to mark the monarch's milestone.
The once in a lifetime event will see members of the monarchy, celebrities from the UK and across the globe, and people from all parts of the UK gather to recognise the Queen's legacy.
A special message from the Queen was released on Wednesday evening, with the monarch saying "many happy memories" would be formed during the festivities.
Tributes and street parties are set to take place, bringing everyone together to mark her 70-year reign.
Trooping the Colour will kick festivities off, with Prince Charles deputising for the Queen as other royals - including Prince Harry and Meghan - watch on.
The Queen said she hoped the Jubilee weekend would provide an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the last 70 years and called for people to look to the future with "confidence and enthusiasm".
Read more: Your guide to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
"Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth," she said.
"I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions.
"I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm."
It was signed Elizabeth R.
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations programme
It comes as an official Platinum Jubilee portrait has also been unveiled to mark the occasion, showing the monarch looking content and happy in her Windsor Castle home.
The Queen is pictured sitting on a cushioned window seat, with Windsor Castle's famous Round Tower visible in the distance.
With her hands resting on her lap and her hair curled in its familiar style, the Queen is dressed in a dusky dove blue Angela Kelly coat.
The shiny pearl and diamante scalloped beading, embroidered around the collar and front trim, is perhaps seemingly a nod to her historic Platinum anniversary.
The image was taken by photographer Ranald Mackechnie in the Victoria Vestibule in the Queen's private apartments at Windsor.
Flypast rehearsal for Queen's Platinum Jubilee takes place at RAF Cranwell
The traditional Trooping the Colour military spectacle will involve more than 1,500 officers and soldiers and 350 horses from the Household Division.
In the evening, more than 3,000 beacons will be set ablaze across the UK and the Commonwealth.
There will be no ceremonial journey to the service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral for the Queen on Friday, and the monarch, if she attends, will use a different entrance rather than scaling the steep steps.
Her planned visit to Epsom for the Derby on Saturday is off, with members of the royal family attending on her behalf.
In the evening, a Jubilee concert is taking place across three stages in front of Buckingham Palace, entertaining a live crowd of 22,000 people.
The line-up includes Diana Ross, Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Nile Rodgers, Andrea Bocelli, Duran Duran, Bond composer Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow and George Ezra.
Charles and William are preparing to deliver public tributes at the concert to the Queen, who is due to be watching on television from Windsor.
RAF personnel prepare for the Platinum Jubilee
On Sunday, millions will gather for patriotic street parties, picnics and barbecues, with more than 85,000 Big Jubilee Lunches being held across the UK.
The finale is the Jubilee Pageant through the streets of London, with a cast of 6,000 performers and close to 200 celebrities joining the carnival procession.
It is hoped the monarch will make a final appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony to round off the weekend to see Ed Sheeran singing the national anthem with a choir made up of Britain's "national treasures".