Royal Jubilee: Queen Elizabeth’s 50th Year on the Throne
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KWAME HOLMAN: British pomp and pageantry filled the fourth and final day of celebrations marking Queen Elizabeth’s 50-year reign. ( Cheers and applause )
SPOKESMAN: God save the queen!
KWAME HOLMAN: But it was last night’s star-packed rock concert at Buckingham Palace that produced a touching personal moment, when heir apparent Prince Charles paid a personal tribute to his mother.
PRINCE CHARLES: Your majesty… ( cheers and applause ) Mummy. ( Laughter )
SINGING: All you need is love
KWAME HOLMAN: Paul McCartney, Tony Bennett, Ozzy Ozbourne, and Ricky Martin were among rock and pop stars who paid homage to the queen. In addition to the 12,000 commoners invited to join the queen in her garden for the evening’s festivities, an estimated one million people thronged the parks and roads around the palace, and many slept over to keep their places for today’s events.
Tens of thousands lined the streets to cheer the queen as she rode from the palace to St. Paul’s Cathedral. She sat in the same golden carriage that took her to her coronation months after she assumed the throne in 1952, at the death of her father, King George VI. Then, she was a mere 25-year-old princess. At St. Paul’s today, the queen and her entourage were greeted with “God Save the Queen” upon her arrival for a special service of thanksgiving.
At a luncheon later in the day, the queen thanked the nation for its support during her reign.
QUEEN ELIZABETH II: It has been a pretty remarkable 50 years by any standards. There have been ups and downs, but anyone who can remember what things were like after those six long years of war, appreciates what immense changes have been achieved since then. Not everyone has been able to benefit from the growth of wealth and prosperity but it has not been for the lack of political will.
I think we can look back with measured pride on the history of the last 50 years. Gratitude, respect, and pride; these words sum up how I feel about the people of this country and the commonwealth, and what this golden jubilee means to me.
KWAME HOLMAN: In 50 years, the queen has presided over the shrinking of an empire, but Britain has become among the most prosperous European nations, many of its citizens homeowners and car owners whose vehicles now jam the streets of London.
For the Jubilee’s grand finale, some 20,000 people marched in an elaborate carnival procession down the mall in central London to the gates of Buckingham Palace. Parade participants ranged from hell’s angels bikers to colorfully dressed ethnic dancers. After greeting some of the one million people who turned out for the grand finale, the queen took to her balcony for an appearance with her family, her immediate heirs, Charles, and his son William, at her side. And a fly over from the royal air force, flanking the supersonic Concorde, displaying the colors of the union jack.
Then in a massive show of public affection, the crowd burst into song. Today was a sharp contrast to recent years when the queen and her family were under much criticism. Now polls show the vast of majority of Britons support the monarchy, and the crowds kept cheering, bringing the queen back to the balcony for an encore wave.