Outside Buckingham Palace, the UK of yore – insecure, self-deprecating and sometimes tortured – was abandoned for a stylish, self-assured and unapologetic British celebration that offered nothing but the best for the best. It was almost a boastful Britain, which during a three-hour Platinum Jubilee concert forgot its deep political divisions and notorious self-defeatism, and looked back with pride and forward with optimism.
Elton John sounded as good as ever in a moving version of Your song, recorded in the Drawing Room of Windsor Castle and dedicated to the Sovereign. Rod Stewart danced and moved like he was still in his thirties and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andrew Lloyd Webber – two of the biggest names in musical theater – performed a piano duet.
Alicia Keys changed the lyrics to Empire mindset from New York to London, Duran Duran ran Girls in the cinema to a stunning array of fashion images from the Queen spanning seven decades and, after a rocky start with Chain reactionDiana Ross hit her suspenders with There’s no mountain high enough to send fans home with soaring spirits.
Only in Britain could you go from rock ‘n’ roll to West End songs, from pop to Andrea Bocelli’s stunning performance Sleep Nessun. Australian Jason Donovan revisited his role as Joseph and had the crowd singing for Any dream will do. A dance troupe paid tribute to six decades of British music – from the Beatles, Bee Gees, David Bowie, Spice Girls and One Direction to Stormzy.
by George Ezra Shotgun had the audience as excited as the cast of The Lion King while tributes came from Julie Andrews, David Beckham, Michele Obama, Paul McCartney, Judi Dench, Mo Farah and David Attenborough.
The only other star that came close to tying it with the monarch was Buckingham Palace itself. With the palace transformed into a giant Imax, personally chosen images of the Queen throughout her reign by Prince Charles were projected throughout the show. The 319-year-old building had never looked better.
Aerial drones made spectacular formations of corgis, a horse, a swan, a teapot and a stamp in the image of the Queen, ending with “Thank you, Madam”.
Prince William left no doubt about his intentions to be a future king with an authoritative and heartwarming tribute to his grandmother, as he reaffirmed that the monarchy of the future will lead calls for greater climate action.
“While no one thanks them for talking about their age, my own grandmother has been alive for almost a century,” he said. “At that time, mankind benefited from unimaginable technological developments and scientific breakthroughs.
“And while these breakthroughs have increased our awareness of the impact humans have on our world, our planet has become more fragile. Now, in 2022 – as the Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee – the pressing need to protect and restore our planet has never been more urgent. But like her, I am an optimist.
Charles, speaking against the backdrop of historic images such as Nelson Mandela on a state visit in 1996 and the handshake between the Queen and Sinn Féin’s Irish Republican politician Martin McGuinness, reflected on her mother’s lifelong commitment to serve.
“You have been with us in our difficult times. And you bring us together to celebrate moments of pride, joy and happiness,” Charles told the crowd, which included tens of thousands gathered along the mall.
“You met us and talked to us. You laugh and cry with us and more importantly you have been there for us for 70 years,” he said.
“You have made a lifelong commitment to service – you continue to deliver. That’s why we’re here. That’s what we’re celebrating tonight. These photos on your home are the story of your life – and ours. .
Don’t think the monarchy is in trouble. He is in good hands. But it was this bear born in Peru who said what we all felt.
“Happy Jubilee, Madam. And thank you for everything.”
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