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Queen seen in good spirits as she leads lighting of the Platinum Jubilee beacon

The Queen has symbolically led the lighting of the principal Platinum Jubilee beacon in a spectacular end to the first day of historic national commemorations celebrating her 70 year reign.

The monarch’s late-night appearance at Windsor Castle rounded off the start to joyful festivities which saw the Queen take to the Buckingham Palace balcony surrounded by her family.

But it was also announced the head of state would miss a National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday after experiencing “discomfort” during Thursday’s events.

A spokesperson for the palace said: "The Queen greatly enjoyed today’s Birthday Parade and Flypast but did experience some discomfort. Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate…at St Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty with great reluctance has concluded that she will not attend."


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While she pulled out of tomorrow's festivities, the spokesperson went on to say that Her Majesty was "looking forward" to the Beacon lighting.

In the special dual ceremony with her grandson Prince William, 39, who was 22 miles away at the palace to play his part in the dual ceremony and lighting another beacon in London, the Queen touched the Commonwealth of Nations Globe to trigger the lighting of the principal beacon outside her London home.

The principal beacon is the 69ft tall Tree of Trees sculpture, featuring 350 British-grown trees, which towers over the palace.

Created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the living creation reflects the planting of more than a million jubilee trees as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative to mark 70 years of the monarch’s reign, and is illuminated with 3,500 festoon lights.


Earlier in the day cheeky Prince Louis stole the show on the palace’s famous frontage as he covered his ears with his hands and let out a howl of excitement as a flypast roared overhead.

The four year old stood next to the Queen, known affectionately as “Gan Gan” to the Cambridge children, as she leaned down to talk to her great-grandson, pointing out things of interest.

Thousands of well-wishers packed on to The Mall in the June sunshine, erupting in cheers for the nation’s longest reigning monarch, with the smiling Queen delighted at the patriotic scenes.

Hours later, the 96 year old sovereign emerged to a fanfare of trumpeters at her Berkshire home.

In the special dual ceremony with her grandson the Duke of Cambridge, who was 22 miles away at the palace, the Queen touched the Commonwealth of Nations Globe to trigger the lighting of the principal beacon outside her London home.

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