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Friday, October 7, 2022

Party over as millions return to work after Platinum Jubilee celebrations

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T

he party is over for millions of people who joined in with Platinum Jubilee celebrations across the extended bank holiday weekend.

Closing the four days of pomp, pageantry and partying, the Queen said she remains “committed to serving” the nation to “the best of my ability”.

The 96-year-old monarch was absent for much of the celebrations, appearing in person for just over 27 minutes throughout the weekend.

The Queen on the Buckingham Palace balcony (Chris Jackson/PA) / PA Wire

Delighting thousands of people packed on to The Mall, the Queen stepped out on to the balcony on Sunday evening following the Platinum Pageant, which told the story of her life, and the nation, with an eccentric, fun and imaginative carnival-like display.

She was flanked by her three heirs – son, grandson and great-grandson – offering a glimpse into the monarchy’s future.

After the outpouring of public affection during her balcony appearance, the Queen said she was “humbled and deeply touched” so many people had taken part in marking her 70-year reign.

The Duchess of Cornwall, patron of the Big Lunch, estimated that up to 18 million people could have taken part in Jubilee street parties, and the Queen expressed her hope this “renewed sense of togetherness” would be felt for years to come.

Sunday’s Pageant, which was so major in scale that a rehearsal was not feasible, concluded what was a varied programme of events since Thursday.

David Zolkwer, show director of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, said: “One of the most exciting things about the Platinum Jubilee Pageant was that there was never going to be a full dress rehearsal – the first and only time our entire cast came together was on the day – it was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event.

The Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales, the Queen, Prince George, the Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, and the Duchess of Cambridge (Chris Jackson/PA) / PA Wire

“Even after working closely with all these inspirational performers for so long to plan their Pageant beat by beat, the wonder of the live performance still absolutely took my breath away.

“The genuine commitment, exuberance and generosity of spirit of the thousands of people involved was a joy and a privilege to behold – it was truly the people’s Pageant.”

Revellers were fortunate that the pageant went off without thunderstorms or heavy rain, which had been feared.

Councilor Adam Hug, leader of Westminster City Council, said the borough of Westminster has “seen an unprecedented coming together of people”, adding: “It has been the most extraordinary event to stage and a national collaboration which has worked brilliantly.”

Senior members of the royal family appeared to enjoy the Platinum Pageant (Leon Neal/PA) / PA Wire

Meanwhile, travel chaos is on the cards for people returning to work on Monday due to a strike resulting in tube stations across London being closed.

London Underground advised people not to travel, warning of severe disruption across the network from the start of service on Monday to 8am on Tuesday.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) are taking industrial action in a dispute over jobs and pensions.

Transport for London (TfL) said some train services will run but many stations, especially those in central and south London, will be closed, while others may only open for limited periods.

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