Elizabeth II: 2012, Diamond Queen

More than a thousand boats of all kinds – kayaks, whalers, gondolas, barges, three-masters… – took part, on June 3, 2012, in the nautical parade on the Thames, for the diamond jubilee of Elizabeth II REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

SPECIAL ISSUE (9/9) - Victoria had previously been the only British monarch to celebrate sixty years of reign. Elizabeth will have equaled and surpassed her grandmother.

She is in royal blue, smiling under her white hair. Relaxed because its colors will not run the Derby of Epsom, which inaugurates the four days during which the United Kingdom celebrates the sixty years of reign of its sovereign. In the royal box, on the bleachers and the lawn, all the men wear top hats and tailcoats. The women wear crazy hats. Ah! how Elizabeth loves shopping! And the horses! She goes to France, even to the United States, to acquire some. No one can fault her when the conversation revolves around colts and fillies. She knows the main breeders, trainers or jockeys, if only by name. A passion that dates back to his childhood.

Often, at Epsom or Ascot, we saw her stamping her feet, clapping her hands, jubilant. On the racetrack, she reveals her emotions, the fire that crackles inside her. At eighty-six, he is not extinct. Neither the death of his loved ones, nor the family conflicts - and God knows if they were not spared him - nor the disappointments, nor the storms weathered by Great Britain and its Commonwealth, this turbulent friendship, which replaced the empire during the statute of Westminster in 1931, could not defeat this woman, make her bow down. Admittedly, she has aged and her silhouette has become heavier. She doesn't move as easily anymore, but she still stands firm on her legs for hours when needed.

READ THE FILE : Death of Queen Elizabeth II, a rock and a symbol for England

Thousands of Britons flocked to London to witness Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee. In the stations, crowded trains continue to pour out a joyful crowd who for nothing in the world would want to miss the great nautical parade which is to take place on June 3 on the Thames. It's drizzling. But an Englishman, a Welshman, a Scotsman or an Irishman doesn't care about bad weather. The queen, on her barge dressed in red and gold, is all dressed in white. A bell-tower precedes it, chiming. An armada of nearly a thousand boats follows her. Some are rowing, others sail or motor. Gondolas alongside a yacht. There are even a few kayaks.

The next day, a royal lunch brings together ten thousand people, drawn by lot, at Buckingham Palace while in London the festivities continue. Thousands of Street Parties take place everywhere while a Big Lunch in Piccadilly is visited by Prince William and his wife, Kate. They got married a year ago. Elizabeth was radiant. In the evening, a concert is planned. It will take place in the presence of the queen, but Philip, who felt unwell, cannot attend. The Duke was hospitalized. He will not die until nine years later, at the age of ninety-nine, on April 9, 2021.

In a lamé dress, Elizabeth joins the artists, among whom we recognize Elton John and Paul McCartney who have both been ennobled. Charles and his wife Camilla, now Duchess of Cornwall, are on stage. The English began by sulking the " mistress from the Prince of Wales and then grew accustomed to this unpretentious woman who loves what all Britons enjoy: country life and comfortable clothes.

Elizabeth relishes the Duchess' outspokenness, humor, common sense and loyalty to her eldest son. Their marriage in 2005 capped a long journey that the Queen described as a Grand National steeplechase.
The Prince of Wales began his speech: Your Majesty… Mummy… The spectators scream with joy. Charles does not give a bombastic eulogy of his mother. It's not the Windsor type. They are not politicians. They would have no excuse to use their jargon. Charles simply says, with hints of humor, how the Queen has raised the pride of belonging to the United Kingdom. In the Commonwealth. Smiling, he launches three times a " Hip! Hip! » to which the crowd responds « Hooray! ". Then the Prince of Wales turns to the Queen who extends her hand to him and he kisses her. The guards begin the first notes of God Save the Queen. Thousands of young people, a little shaggy, sing the hymn which is a prayer. Motionless, Elizabeth wants to close her eyes. She can't afford it. She never allowed herself the slightest weakness.

This article is taken from Figaro Special Edition “Elisabeth II, The Last Queen”.

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