A Celebration Fit For A Queen

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by her husband the Duke of Edinburgh wave to wellwishers as they ride Tuesday June 4, 2002, in the State Gold Coach from Buckingham Palace to St Paul's Cathedral, in London for a service of thanksgiving to celebrate her Golden Jubilee. AP

A centuries-old gold carriage carried Britain's Queen Elizabeth II through the crowd-filled streets of London on Tuesday during a pomp-laden climax to four days of celebrations of her 50 years on the throne.

Hundreds of thousands of people — her subjects, her fans, curious tourists — were on the streets, reports CBS News Correspondent Sam Litzinger, waving and cheering Queen Elizabeth as she continued to mark 50 years on the throne of Great Britain.

They're pulling out all the stops for her, from concerts at Buckingham Palace to a special service at St. Paul's Cathedral.

The four-ton, horse-drawn coach — first used by King George III in 1762 — drew the queen slowly from her Buckingham Palace residence to St Paul's Cathedral for a thanksgiving service.

Guns fired in salute, trumpets played and footmen walked alongside, as the queen waved to her subjects and held the same restrained smile she always shows, no matter what the occasion.

Also in the procession were the rest of the royal family, with the queen's handsome teenage grandson Prince William — second in line to the throne after his father Prince Charles — drawing cheers and screams from his legions of female fans.

Tuesday's celebrations were also to include a massive carnival procession, with participants ranging from Hell's Angels bikers to a 5,000-strong gospel choir, and a balcony appearance at Buckingham Palace to wave to the masses.

Hundreds of people camped on sidewalks overnight to secure good spots for Tuesday's procession. Many had attended the concert Monday and decided to wait for the parade despite wet and chilly weather.

Sandra Lister, who waited on the streets all night with her grandson Ashley, 11, said the discomfort had been worthwhile.

"The party was absolutely fantastic. We're both very tired now and I'm longing for my bath, but we wouldn't miss today's procession for the world," she said.

"We love you, Queen Elizabeth! Don't believe what you read in the media," shouted Jane Webster, from Yorkshire, who had taken a train down to London to camp outside Buckingham Palace for the duration of the four-day celebrations.

Security along the route was massive, with thousands of police officers lining the streets. Helicopters hovered over London and police boats cruised the River Thames.

The queen looked happy but tired during Tuesday's ceremonies, following an unprecedented pop concert in her honour on Monday night in Buckingham Palace gardens.

One million people gathered inside and outside the grounds for the "Party at the Palace" where a Who's Who of British rock and pop over the last half-century shook the normally sedate surroundings, and comics struck some irreverent notes.

When the queen took her seat at the concert, TV favorite Dame Edna Everage, portrayed by Australian comedian Barry Humphries, hailed the "jubilee girl." Others went further, openly poking fun at Prince Charles and even telling risqué jokes about sex and pubic hair.

Prince Charles dropped protocol in an unusually affectionate speech at the end, paying homage to "Your Majesty...Mummy."

"We feel proud of you — proud and grateful for everything you have done for your country and the Commonwealth over 50 extraordinary years," he said.

The Golden Jubilee — only the third for a British monarch, the last being Queen Victoria's in 1887 — has sparked a wave of nostalgia across Britain and affection for the 76-year-old monarch.

These days, at least, reports Litzinger, it's hard to find any Briton who's not a royalist.
  • Brian Dakss

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