Queen Elizabeth II Begins Jubilee Festivities

She headed to the Epsom Derby with her granddaughters

By Cathy Rainone
|  Saturday, Jun 2, 2012  |  Updated 1:29 PM CDT
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Queen Elizabeth II kicks off the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

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Hail to the Queen!

The celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the British throne kicked off in royal fashion Saturday, Reuters reported.

Her Majesty, 86, arrived at the Epsom Derby in southern England to watch one of the racing calendar's richest events.

She was accompanied by her granddaughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, People magazine reported.

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, Tweeted about her daughters' appearance.

"So proud of my of my beautiful daughters and how special to be at the Epsom Derby supporting their Granny what an amazing Grandmother the Queen is," wrote Ferguson, according to People.

Wearing a royal blue coat, a matching hat and a while silk dress with floral detail, the Queen was cheered on by tens of thousands of well-wishers, People reported.

The Derby launched four days of nationwide Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins led the the 130,000 strong crowd in singing "God Save The Queen."

"I would have stood there in the pouring rain to have sung that, it was such an honor," said Jenkins, who was accompanied by the Band of the Royal Marines, Reuters reported.

"This is definitely a day I will never forget. There's such a sense of celebration in the air, everybody's really proud and happy and, I think, inspired by this."

The celebration is quite rare. Only one monarch has celebrated a diamond jubilee before and that was Queen Elizabeth’s great-great-great-grandmother Victoria in 1897.

Following the Epsom Derby, the festivities will move to London.

On Sunday, enormous crowds are expected to line up along the River Thames to watch a flotilla of 1,000 boats from around the globe.

It will travel along the Thames to escort the queen and her 90-year-old husband on a royal barge, the largest show of pageantry in 350 years, Reuters reported.

Millions more have planned to attend street parties across England in the Queen’s honor, including outside Prime Minister David Cameron's office, as part of a "Big Jubilee Lunch.”

On Monday, Buckingham Palace with host a star-studded concert featuring Paul McCartney and Elton John.

The celebrations will conclude on Tuesday with a memorial service at St Paul's Cathedral, a carriage procession through central London and a fly-past by present and former Royal Air Force aircraft, Reuters reported.

Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne on February 1952 upon the death of her father George VI, and is the oldest British monarch.
 

Suggested Reading: Reuters, People, The British Monarchy

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