LONDON — Queen Elizabeth gave well-wishers just what they wanted on Thursday, smiling broadly from the balcony of Buckingham Palace during a Trooping of the Colour birthday parade and a dramatic aerial display by Royal Air Force fighter jets.
The queen, who was dressed in the same pale blue, embellished coat she wore for her latest portrait (plus a pair of cool sunglasses and a walking stick) was surrounded by working members of the royal family, including Britain’s future king Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were there, too, along with their three children, who pointed excitedly, or held their hands over their ears, as the Red Arrows, Typhoons and Spitfires zoomed over the palace, trailing red, white and blue smoke or forming the number 70. The queen is the first British monarch to celebrate 70 years on the throne.
The queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her family were on the balcony, too, as was her son the Earl of Wessex, and his wife and children.
Prince Andrew, who was stripped of his military roles and royal patronages earlier this year due to his ties to the late Jeffrey Epstein, was not present.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have renounced their royal duties and settled in California, were not on the balcony either, although they are celebrating with the family and attending Jubilee events as private citizens.
Earlier in the day, members of Britain’s royals gathered to watch the Trooping the Colour ceremony, which marks the monarch’s official birthday, and kicked off a four-day Platinum Jubilee.
Prince George, the Duchess of Cambridge, and the Duchess of Cornwall traveled in an open-top carriage to Horse Guards Parade in London to watch the annual ceremony from inside private offices overlooking the grounds.
The Duchess of Cambridge was dressed in a white coatdress by Alexander McQueen, and a navy hat with a white trim by Philip Treacy. The Duchess of Cornwall wore a striped pale blue dress and matching Philip Treacy hat.
The parade happens annually during the first weekend in June, but it’s taking place earlier this year due to the Jubilee weekend, which runs from June 2 to 5. The weekend will culminate with a Jubilee Pageant on Sunday afternoon honoring the life and work of the queen.
On Wednesday evening, Buckingham Palace released a new portrait of the queen to mark the monarch’s long reign. The image was taken by the photographer Ranald Mackechnie, and shows the queen wearing a dove blue, embellished coat by Angela Kelly, personal assistant, adviser and curator to Her Majesty the Queen.
Kelly has been working with the queen since the 1990s and has become one of the queen’s most trusted advisers. In her memoir, “The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe,” Kelly talks about how she rejuvenated the queen’s look, adding brighter colors and shorter lengths to her wardrobe.
The image of the queen was shot at the Victoria Vestibule in the queen’s private apartments at Windsor Castle.
In a statement accompanying the image, the queen said she continues “to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”