Diamond Jubilee: Thanksgiving Service and Carriage Procession
Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations came to magnificent conclusion yesterday with a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, followed by a carriage procession through central London and a flypast. It was a fitting closure for a four-day celebration across Britain and other Commonwealth Realms that including a spectacular 1,000 boat Pageant on the River Thames, and a Jubilee Concert featuring music industry’s greatest names.
As in previous days, cheering crowds descended on the streets of London on Tuesday to celebrate their Queen’s Jubilee. The Thanksgiving Service was special in many ways since it honoured not just the Monarch, but the Supreme Governor of the Church of England – a role Her Majesty has always treated with utmost respect and earnestness. The Queen arrived to loud cheers and impromptu but very enthusiastic renditions of “God Save The Queen”. She was joined by the extended Royal Family including not only her children and grandchildren, but also cousins, nephews and nieces. Even Katharine, Duchess of Kent, who rarely attends royal functions these days, was present.
The Queen, following long-standing tradition, the Queen walked into the cathedral behind the Lord Mayor holding the Pearl Sword. According to legend, the sword, which takes its name from its scabbard of pearls, was given to the City by Elizabeth I when the first Royal Exchange opened in 1571; it is thus one of the five City Swords. The arrival and seating arrangements in the Cathedral had been slightly changed because of the Duke of Edinburgh’s hospitalisation. Because of Prince Philip’s absence, the Queen arrived alone with her lady-in-waiting; instead of sitting at the front alone one her own; instead, Her Majesty was joined by the Prince of Wales on her right.
The Thanksgiving Service featured the Diamond Choir who sang Call of Wisdom, an anthem by Will Todd. The Diamond Choir was specifically created for the Jubilee and is made up of children from across Britain. Ordinary people and those in prominent positions alike took their turns to praise Her Majesty, including Prime Minister David Cameron and Dr Roman Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury were among them.
The Archbishop delivered an hour-long speech in which he praised the Queen’s lifelong dedication to duty, country and the Commonwealth. In particular, he said: “I don’t think it’s at all fanciful to say that, in all her public engagements, our Queen has shown a quality of joy in the happiness of others. She has responded with just the generosity St Paul speaks of in showing honour to countless local communities and individuals of every background and class and race. She has made her public happy and all the signs are that she is herself happy, fulfilled and at home in these encounters. To declare a lifelong dedication is to take a huge risk, to embark on a costly venture. But it is also to respond to the promise of a vision that brings joy.”
After several action-packed days and especially the late night concert of the day before, some of the royals appeared quite exhausted. However, Her Majesty taught them a lesson or two about resilience; throughout the service, she intently listened to all speeches and sang all hymns. As the Queen left the Cathedral, she was again greeted by a huge cheer from the waiting crowd; delighted, she stopped to wave to the public.
The Service was followed by a Carriage Procession, albeit a considerably slimmed down one. Her Majesty’s Coronation, as well as Silver and Gold Jubilees as featured lengthy processions involving the Gold State Coach.
This year, however, there was only a short trip back to the Buckingham Palace in only two coaches. In the first carriage – the 1902 State Landau – were the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The second landau the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry were seated. They were escorted by the First and Second Divisions of the Sovereign’s Escort.
As the senior royals arrived at the Buckingham Palace for the final stage of the day – the Balcony appearance and Flypast, people filled The Mall within minutes.
Over one million gathered in front of Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of their Queen, singing “God Save The Queen” and chanting “We want the Queen” and “Hip Hip Hooray!” Union Jacks covered every inch of the Mall; red, white and blue featured not only on flags and posters, but hats, cloths, umbrellas and even people’s faces. One banner perhaps expressed the mood of those gathered, and that of majority of British people, reading “Elizabeth the Great: she’s a diamond”.
When the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry emerged on the Balcony, a truly deafening roar erupted. The Queen broke into a broad smile, clearly very touched by the outpouring of genuine affection. Those present then witnessed an impressive flypast featuring a Dakota, King Airs, a Lancaster, Spitfires and a Hurricane. The culmination was of course the spectacular appearance by the Red Arrows in the Diamond-nine formation, leaving trails of red, white and blue smoke behind. The flypast was followed by the Feu de Joie, a cascade of rifle fire from Buckingham Palace Guard of Honour, the 1st Battalion Irish Guard – a fitting ending tribute of a historic Jubilee weekend.
Her Majesty was overwhelmed by the support, love and respect her people have shown her during these days. To express her gratitude, she recorded a special address to nation – the first such address outside of the annual Christmas speeches in fifteen years. Calling th events marking her Diamond Jubilee a humbling experience, the Queen went on to say: “It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere. I will continue to treasure and draw inspiration from the countless kindnesses shown to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth. Thank you all.”
To hear Her Majesty’s address, visit this link. To read more about the Thanksgiving Service, Carriage Procession and Flypast, visit this thread – The Diamond Jubilee Service of Thanksgiving and Carriage Procession. To learn more about other Diamond Jubilee events, visit this forum – The Diamond Jubilee 2012.Filed under The United Kingdom
Tagged Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.