A host of musical icons, including the legendary British group Queen (without deceased frontman Freddy Mercury), fired up the crowds on Saturday in London during a giant concert celebrating the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
The event place in the absence of the 96-year-old sovereign, who was resting after being in poor health lately. After the pomp and parades seen earlier, some of the biggest names of the music industry paraded on stage in front of the gates of Buckingham Palace. The show marked the third day of Platinum Jubilee festivities with stars including Rod Stewart, Alicia Keys, and Duran Duran.
Queen + Adam Lambert launched the evening with the hits “We Will Rock You”, “Don’t Stop Me Now” then “We are the Champions”. 22,000 spectators waved Union Jacks as the royal family looked on, among them Crown Prince Charles and his eldest son Prince William, who came with his wife Kate and their two sons.
The free concert was played on giant screens on the Mall, the main road leading to the palace. “It’s wonderful to be back” Queen guitarist Brian May told the BBC, 20 years after making his mark performing the national anthem “God Save the Queen” perched on the roof of the palace, for the sovereign’s golden jubilee.
Unable to attend the event in person, Elizabeth II watched the concert on television, as it was broadcast live on the BBC. Loved for her sense of duty and deadpan humour, she nevertheless made a surprise appearance in a short humorous video released before kick-off, where she has tea with the fictional British icon of children's literature, Paddington Bear.
The Queen had already missed the service at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, having suffered "discomfort" on the first day of celebrations on Thursday, when she appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, beaming but frail and leaning on a cane.