Queen symbolically leads lighting of principal Jubilee beacon in special dual ceremony with Prince William

Her Majesty appeared from Windsor Castle, while William was seen at Buckingham Palace

Published Last updated

The Queen has symbolically led the lighting of the principal Platinum Jubilee beacon in a spectacular end to the first day of historic national commemorations celebrating her 70-year-reign.

The monarch’s late-night appearance at Windsor Castle rounded off the start to joyful festivities which saw the Queen take to the Buckingham Palace balcony surrounded by her family.

In a special dual ceremony with her grandson Prince William, who was 22 miles away at the palace, the Queen touched the Commonwealth of Nations Globe to trigger the lighting of the principal beacon outside her London home.

The Queen led the principal Platinum Jubilee beacon
The Queen led the principal Platinum Jubilee beacon
The Queen touched the Commonwealth of Nations Globe to trigger the lighting of the principal beacon outside her London home
The Queen touched the Commonwealth of Nations Globe to trigger the lighting of the principal beacon outside her London home

Lights chased along the Quadrangle towards Windsor’s famous Round Tower, before travelling up the 21-metre living Tree of Trees, illuminating the sculpture which towered above the palace.

The beacon formed the focal point for a chain of more than 3,500 flaming tributes, which criss-crossed the nation and the Commonwealth in the Queen’s honour.

Created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick, the living creation reflects the planting of more than a million jubilee trees as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) initiative to mark 70 years of the monarch’s reign, and is illuminated with 3,500 festoon lights.

It comes hours after Buckingham Palace announced that Her Majesty would miss the National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Friday.

In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: “The Queen greatly enjoyed today’s Birthday Parade and flypast but did experience some discomfort.

“Taking into account the journey and activity required to participate in tomorrow’s National Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, Her Majesty, with great reluctance, has concluded that she will not attend.

“The Queen is looking forward to participating in tonight’s beacon lighting event at Windsor Castle and would like to thank all those who made today such a memorable occasion.”

Her Majesty is believed to have experienced episodic mobility issues during Thursday’s events.