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Queen Elizabeth II to miss Jubilee service amid 'discomfort'

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By AP with Euronews
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Queen Elizabeth II, alongside the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and their children, on the balcony of Buckingham Place, Thursday, June 2, 2022.
Queen Elizabeth II, alongside the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and their children, on the balcony of Buckingham Place, Thursday, June 2, 2022.   -   Copyright  (Aaron Chown/Pool Photo via AP)

Queen Elizabeth II stepped gingerly onto the Buckingham Palace balcony Thursday, drawing wild cheers from the tens of thousands who came to join her at the start of four days of celebrations of her 70 years on the throne.

Yet after a lifetime of good health, age has begun to catch up with her. Buckingham Palace announced late Thursday that the queen would not attend a thanksgiving church service Friday after experiencing “some discomfort” at events on Thursday. The palace said with “great reluctance” the monarch has decided to skip the service at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The queen has had trouble moving around in recent months, and has pulled out of many public events. But Elizabeth took part Thursday night in lighting a chain of ceremonial beacons at Windsor Castle as planned.

A long weekend of celebrations

The Jubilee celebrations go on for a long weekend, and it was not immediately known how the news would affect Jubilee events on Saturday and Sunday.

The palace says “the queen greatly enjoyed" Thursday's events.

She seemed to bask in her moment. Smiling, she chatted with her great-grandson Prince Louis, 4, who occasionally covered his ears as 70 military aircraft old and new swooped low over the palace to salute the queen. The six-minute display included a formation of Typhoon fighter jets flying in the shape of the number 70.

The jubilee is being commemorated with a four-day holiday extravaganza and events, including a concert at Buckingham Palace on Saturday and a pageant staged by thousands of performers drawn from schools and community groups around the country on Sunday. 

Thousands of street parties are also planned nationwide, repeating a tradition that began with the queen’s coronation in 1953.

Thanking the people

In a written jubilee message, the queen thanked people in Britain and across the Commonwealth involved in organising the celebrations.

“I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions,” Elizabeth said. “I continue 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 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”

Prince Charles, the 73-year-old heir to the throne, played a key role during the event Thursday as he stood in for his mother — as he has more and more of late.

Clad in his ceremonial military uniform, Charles rode onto the parade ground on horseback and took the salute of the passing troops in their scarlet tunics and bearskin hats. He was flanked by his sister, Princess Anne, and oldest son Prince William.