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Crowds on The Mall celebrate ‘once in a lifetime’ moment during Jubilee parade

Royal fans watch as the Royal Procession heads to the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, central London. (PA/Andrew Matthews)
Royal fans watch as the Royal Procession heads to the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade, central London. (PA/Andrew Matthews)

Crowds along The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace are celebrating a “once in a lifetime” moment as the Queen’s Jubilee parade kicked off.

Thousands have travelled from all over the country to join the festivities in central London on Thursday.

Army veterans Ronny, 54, Banffy, 59, and Robert, 46, said they had travelled down from Aberdeenshire to celebrate the event.

The group said they won tickets after putting their name in a ballot to sit in the stands by Buckingham Palace.

Pointing to the palace, Ronny said: “A wee wifey that lives in that house, there, and she has had that job for 70 years and she needs a wee bit of celebration, and we highlanders are here to wish her well.”

Asked what they are most looking forward to, he indicated the lunch box they had been given, joking: “The snuff box for a start.”

Platinum Jubilee
Army veterans (left-right, last names not given) Robert, 46, Banffy, 59, and Ronny, 54, won tickets to watch the Trooping the Colour ceremony (Rebecca Speare-Cole/PA)

“The whole event,” he then added. “It’s a historic celebration of Her Majesty.”

Emily Hurle, Lauren Stone and Amelia Jull, all 28, and Lauren Keith, 27, who moved to London from New Zealand, came to the Mall wearing tiaras and drinking cocktails.

“We’re here to celebrate the Queen, of course,” Ms Keith said.

Ms Hurle said: “I think she’s a fantastic leader and in 70 years she’s done exceedingly well.”

“Yup, she’s a legend. We love her,” Ms Stone added.

Ms Keith added: “I think the crowds today shows how people feel about her – everyone loves her, everyone’s here to celebrate her, and congrats Lizzie!”

“She’s a big deal in New Zealand as well,” Ms Jull said, adding they all watch the Queen’s Christmas speech back home and their families had asked them if they were coming today.

Asked about what they are looking forward to, Ms Hurle said: “Hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen.”

Ms Stone joked: “Yes, seeing someone royal would be good.”

Friends Hillary Mathews, 70, from Hertfordshire, and Peter Aldam, 69, from Essex, said they met in London this morning to celebrate the “once in a lifetime event” as they waved flags on The Mall.

Monarchs graphic
(PA Graphics)

Ms Mathews said: “It’s just fantastic. She has just been so remarkable, the Queen.

“She has done an amazing job, absolutely – who would want to do that that for 70 years? Just magnificent,” she added.

Speaking about the parade, Ms Mathews said: “Being 5ft 1in, I don’t suppose I’ll see much, but it’s just being here with the crowds, and we’ll see the flypast from here, so that will be good.

“It’s just lovely to be somewhere where there are nice people.

Platinum Jubilee
Crowds on The Mall ahead the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards Parade (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“Everybody has got the same mission – all the horrors that’s been going on in the world and in England at the moment are put behind us for a day, and we can just enjoy really celebrating the Queen.”

Talking about the sunny weather, she said: “I was here for Princess Diana’s funeral, it was the same day just a long time ago – but a happier day today.”

Mr Aldam added of the monarch: “I’ve always known her. All my lifetime, she’s been there and it’s just a sign of respect, really.”

Jonathan and Claire Taylor, from Northampton, also joined the crowds with their daughter Aurelia, eight, decked out in Union flag merchandise.

Aurelia said: “I just really to see the Jubilee. I wanted to see it because it’s a really special Jubilee.”

Ms Taylor added: “We’re never going to see a jubilee of this – 70 years – ever in our lifetime or our child’s lifetime probably, so we thought, we’ve just got to be there.”

Platinum Jubilee parade
Soldiers taking part in the parade along The Mall (MoD/PA)

Speaking about the Queen, Ms Taylor said: “She’s a really amazing figurehead.

“Whether you like the royal family or not she’s an incredible woman and a great role model for women and for our girls.”

Aurelia said: “She’s made lots of amazing changes and made the world a better place.”

The eight-year-old added that she would like to ask her what it’s like to be the Queen, and what her corgis’ names are.

Brian Hobe, 36, a member of the first battalion Irish Guards who was selling programmes to the crowd, said: “I volunteered today. I wasn’t originally meant to be on but this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

He went on to say the “atmosphere is good”, adding that the crowd are “enjoying themselves”.

Platinum Jubilee crowds
Crowds on The Mall (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“They’re shouting, screaming, waving their flags, it’s just multi-cultural, multi-national. It’s just been a good day.”

Gill Essom, 75, from Portland, and Joan Barton, 75, from Barton-on-Humber, said they were “very excited” to win tickets to sit in the stands by the palace.

The pair said they have been friends for 57 years since they met as nurses in the Royal Navy when they were 18.

“We feel very privileged,” Ms Barton said.

“Immensely proud, because we remember the coronation 69 years ago,” Ms Essom added.

Speaking about the Queen, Ms Barton added: “She’s absolutely amazing. She has reigned for so long and so well. She is an icon.”

“She has done an amazing job for the county,” Ms Essom added.