'My heart's with you all': Queen thanks nation after surprise balcony appearance

5 June 2022, 17:13 | Updated: 6 June 2022, 15:24

The Queen appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
The Queen appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Picture: Alamy

By James Bickerton

The Queen has said she is "humbled and touched" by Jubilee celebrations after making a surprise balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace.

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She pledged to continue to serve as monarch "to the best of my ability supported by my family", adding that "my heart has been with you all" even though she missed parts of the celebrations.

It was an acknowledgment of her fragility but a commitment to continue in her role for as long as possible.

The full thank you message read: "When it comes to how to mark 70 years as your Queen, there is no guidebook to follow. It really is a first. But I have been humbled and deeply touched that so many people have taken to the streets to celebrate my Platinum Jubilee.

"While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.

"I have been inspired by the kindness, joy and kinship that has been so evident in recent days, and I hope this renewed sense of togetherness will be felt for many years to come.

"I thank you most sincerely for your good wishes and for the part you have all played in these happy celebrations."

The royal, dressed in green, appeared alongside Prince Charles, Camilla, and the Cambridge family on the Buckingham Palace balcony on Sunday afternoon.

It was a moment for the history books, filled with poignancy, as the Queen stepped out to bid farewell to the vast crowds celebrating her 70-year reign.

As the monarch walked slowly and careful onto the famous frontage, Charles placed his hand on his mother's elbow, guiding her as she used her walking stick.

Her appearance lasted less than three minutes as tens of thousands of people crammed into the Mall to sing the national anthem - led by Ed Sheeran.

As the crowds sung along, the Queen surveyed the scenes before her, deep in thought.

Then, with smiles and a few waves of her white-gloved hands, she turned and was gone, achieving her aim of being seen to be believed in mere minutes.

Flanked by her three heirs - son, grandson and great-grandson - it offered a glimpse into the monarchy's future.

READ MORE: Charles and Camilla arrive at packed Oval as street party festivities across UK begin

The Queen grinned as she took her place on the balcony.
The Queen grinned as she took her place on the balcony. Picture: Alamy

The Queen's appearance followed the Pageant which took place from Horse Bank Parade through Westminster to Buckingham Palace.

It was led by a military contingent drawn from all three UK armed services and a number of other Commonwealth countries.

They were headed by soldiers from the Household Cavalry, followed by the Queen's 260-year-old Gold State Coach.

In 1953 the coach was used to transport the Queen to her coronation in Westminster Abbey.

Whilst the Queen was unable to travel in her coach for health reasons, she was represented on the side in hologram form by footage from across her reign.

The coach was guarded by troops from the Yeomen of the Guard, the oldest unit of the British Army in service.

The flags of all 54 Commonwealth nations were also carried by British soldiers, reflecting the Queen's role as Head of the Commonwealth.

They were followed by military personnel from 21 of the Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada, Malaysia, Pakistan, Tanzania and New Zealand.

Prince Charles, along with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children, watched the ceremony from the royal box.

They were joined by Boris and Carrie Johnson, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The military component was followed by classic British vehicles, including a number of cars which featured in James Bond films.

One group was made up of 300 classic bicyclers, led by Britain's cycling heroes including six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy.

British troops taking part in the Queen's Jubilee Pageant
British troops taking part in the Queen's Jubilee Pageant. Picture: Alamy/LBC
The eight-horse-drawn making its way through central London.
The eight-horse-drawn making its way through central London. Picture: Alamy/LBC
The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George in the Royal Box
The Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George in the Royal Box. Picture: Alamy/LBC
The Pageant features 6,000 military personnel and performers
The Pageant features 6,000 military personnel and performers. Picture: Alamy/LBC

The procession was designed to show British life and culture from across the Queen's 70-year reign, organised according to the decade.

The 60s was represented by a group dressed as hippies and model Daleks from Dr Who, with gay pride campaigners for the 70s and skaters for the 90s.

Each decade was accompanied by a bus containing celebrities from that era, including Nicole Scherzinger, Sir Cliff Richard, Katherine Jenkins and Kate Moss.

Great British Bake Off star Prue Leith was driven along in a Bentley, which at one point had to be pushed along by men in fluorescent jackets after it appeared to have broken down.

The procession aimed to represent all parts of the UK, with performers representing all four of the British nations.

It also sought to reflect the diversity of modern Britain, with a "Bollywood style" wedding and Afro-Caribbean drumming.

The pageant making its way past Buckingham Palace.
The pageant making its way past Buckingham Palace. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Kate Moss was one of a number of celebrities who took part in the procession.
Kate Moss was one of a number of celebrities who took part in the procession. Picture: Alamy/LBC
Drummers taking part in the Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Drummers taking part in the Platinum Jubilee Pageant. Picture: Alamy/LBC

Participants included transport enthusiasts Ivan Fisher and Richard Dixon, who took part with two buses from the 2000s and 1950s respectively.

Outlining his excitement Mr Dixon explained: "You can't say no to taking part in this event. It's such a great day.

"On the 1953 bus we've got Sir Cliff Richard, I'm looking forward to meeting him."

His friend, Mr Fisher, helped bring the 1953 bus over to London from Norwich.

He said: "It took us nine hours to get here from Norwich as she's got a top speed of 32mph.

"We came Thursday last week so that they could decorate them and put the wraps on them. It took nine men nine hours for each bus.

"The gentleman who owns the 2000s bus was approached by the Pageant committee and asked if he knew of anyone who could contribute a bus, and we jumped at the chance because it's a big privilege to be involved."

READ MORE: Charlotte, Louis and George bake cakes as UK prepares for day of street parties

Crowds building up ahead of the Queen's Jubilee pageant through London
Crowds building up ahead of the Queen's Jubilee pageant through London. Picture: Alamy/LBC
A troupe of Daleks on Horse Guards Parade ahead of the pageant
A troupe of Daleks on Horse Guards Parade ahead of the pageant . Picture: Alamy/LBC
Spectators in place ahead of the Queen's Jubilee Pageant
Spectators in place ahead of the Queen's Jubilee Pageant. Picture: Alamy/LBC

Also taking part was Sarah Jones, aged 74, who drove a vintage Mini she brought in 1974.

She admitted being "slightly nerve-wracked" but reassuringly added: "I'm sure it will be alright as long as I don't crash into the one in front."