Beaming Queen honoured with standing ovation as Platinum Jubilee celebrations kick off

15 May 2022, 21:44 | Updated: 16 May 2022, 10:22

Celebrations for the Queen's jubilee have begun.
Celebrations for the Queen's jubilee have begun. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

The Queen has been honoured with a standing ovation as her Platinum Jubilee celebrations kicked off with a star-studded equestrian extravaganza.

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The audience rose to their feet applauding and cheering when the monarch arrived at Castle Arena - close to Windsor Castle - for the musical and theatrical romp across the centuries called A Gallop through History.

Hollywood actors Tom Cruise and Dame Helen Mirren - once again playing a Queen of England - led the cast of entertainers who appeared in the first major event marking the Queen's 70-year reign.

It was staged by the Royal Windsor Horse Show, which has been welcoming spectators for the past three days including the monarch who spent part of her Friday touring the show grounds after earlier missing the State Opening of Parliament.

Despite ongoing mobility issues the Queen walked to her seat in the royal box after she was driven into the arena, escorted by mounted divisions of the Household Cavalry.

Read more: Smiling Queen brushes off health fears to watch her beloved horses compete

Read more: 'We can foresee clearly now a King Charles' as doubt cast over Queen's Jubilee attendance

The Queen walking to her seat.
The Queen walking to her seat. Picture: Alamy

She was joined by her youngest son - the Earl of Wessex - for the show that reflected her life-long passion for horses.

A tri-service guard of honour featuring the Coldstream Guards, RAF Regiment and Royal Navy was in place for the Queen's arrival which was signalled by the National Anthem being played by military musicians.

Among other celebrities taking part in the show were Damian Lewis, Omid Djalili and Katherine Jenkins - an all-star cast of British and international talent for Sunday's performance which was broadcast live by ITV.

The Queen was driven into the Castle Arena escorted by mounted divisions of the Household Cavalry.
The Queen was driven into the Castle Arena escorted by mounted divisions of the Household Cavalry. Picture: Alamy
The Queen during the A Gallop Through History Platinum Jubilee celebration
The Queen during the A Gallop Through History Platinum Jubilee celebration. Picture: Alamy

Ahead of the event, A-lister Tom Cruise was asked if he was looking forward to the show and he replied "absolutely".

He later said it is "a real honour and privilege" to be a part of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

"What she has accomplished is historic. She has met presidents, world leaders, people from all walks of life," Cruise said.

"Not just Americans, but the world knows the dignity, devotion and kindness, that is what I have always felt about her.

"Someone that understands her position and has held it through a history that's just been extraordinary the past 70 years."

The actor will be introducing the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery live at an open-air show being staged close to Windsor Castle.

Dame Helen Mirren - once again playing a Queen of England - led the cast of entertainers
Dame Helen Mirren - once again playing a Queen of England - led the cast of entertainers. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile, Dame Helen, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of the Queen in the film of the same name, played Queen Elizabeth I as the show began, chronicling the events of the first Elizabethan age from the attempted invasion of the Spanish Armada to leading figures of the day like William Shakespeare.

She later paid tribute to the Queen for her "unswerving" leadership through the years, and expressed the nation's "most loving thanks".

"I voice our loyalty and our appreciation on this celebration of your Majesty's 70 years on the throne of the United Kingdom and of the many other nations where you are head of state," she said.

"For all these years you have carried our nation. You have been at its heart, its drumbeat. You have given us purpose and when situations have been challenging, your hope, guidance and leadership have been unswerving.

"I address you on behalf of all your loyal subjects. We commend and admire the way that you carry out the affairs of state with such dexterity and poise.

"I therefore speak on behalf of a grateful nation and commonwealth when I give you our sincere and most loving thanks."