5 Jun 2012

Queen thanks nation for ‘humbling’ jubilee

On the final day of the Diamond Jubilee holiday, the Queen thanks the nation for a “humbling experience” and says she has been “deeply touched” by the celebrations.

In a televised address, her majesty said: “It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbours and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere.”

She added: “I hope that memories of all this year’s happy events will brighten our lives for many years to come.

“I will continue to treasure and draw inspiration from the countless kindnesses shown to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth. Thank you all.”

This afternoon, the Queen watched a flypast by Second World War aircraft and the Red Arrows from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. She had travelled to the palace from Westminster, hailed by large crowds.

Recovering in hospital

Earlier on Tuesday, the Queen attended a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s – one of the few grand state occasions in her life which she has attended without her husband of 64 years. The Duke of Edinburgh remains in hospital recovering from a bladder infection.

The monarch last night attended a star-studded Diamond Jubilee concert without the Duke of Edinburgh by her side.

This morning, Buckingham Palace said that Prince Philip continued to recover in hospital, and that the Queen would continue with her scheduled events today with other members of the royal family, including the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

This morning, hundreds of well-wishers gathered outside St Paul’s Cathedral ahead of a service of thanksgiving for the Diamond Jubilee.

‘Best of Britain’

Reflecting on the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Prime Minister David Cameron told Krishnan Guru-Murthy for Channel 4 News that the they had shown “the best of Britain”.

He said communities had been brought together and demonstrated resilience – as had the royal family, whose members continued to participate in today’s events despite the fact that the Duke of Edinburgh was in hospital.

We’ve modernised this institution of the monarchy, but it’s still got this incredible institutional history and nostalgia for people. David Cameron

Mr Cameron recalled sleeping out on the street in the Mall ahead of the wedding between Prince Charles and Lady Diana – “We got there at 10 o’clock in the morning the day before to really, kind of, stake out the best bit of ground.”

The prime minister described the monarchy as “an incredible institution” which brought people together, alongside “a fully democratic system where you elect governments, you throw governments out”.

“We’ve modernised, if you like, this institution of the monarchy, but it’s still got this incredible institutional history and nostalgia for people, which people like me feel very, very deeply.”

And on the subject of Prince Charles, whose performance at Sunday night’s Diamond Jubilee concert has been widely praised, Mr Cameron said: “He’s shown enormous dedication to causes and issues that he cares about”.

He concluded that it was “absolutely right” that Prince Charles should feel free to express his views.

‘Her reign has endured’

US President Barack Obama sent the Queen the “heartfelt congratulations of the American people”.

In war and peace, the United States and the United Kingdom have shared a special relationship. US President Obama

In a video message posted on the White House website, he paid tribute to her 60 years on the throne, saying that although presidents and prime ministers have come and gone, her “reign has endured”.

“In war and in peace, in times of plenty and in times of hardship, the United States and the United Kingdom have shared a special relationship,” President Obama said.

“We have stood tall and strong and faced some of the greatest challenges this world has known.”

Heartfelt tribute

A third day of celebrations to a close on Monday night with the Prince of Wales paying a heartfelt tribute to the Queen, saying she was a “very special person”.

Prince Charles said: “The only sad thing about this evening is that my father could not be there with us because he is taken unwell.

“But, ladies and gentlemen, if we shout loud enough he might just hear us in hospital.”

His illness followed a day spent aboard the royal barge along the River Thames in driving rain and wind for the river pageant on Sunday.

Experts have suggested that he may have contracted his infection during the pageant.

Dr Malcolm Vandenburg, a Harley Street specialist in general medicine and male health problems, said: “You wonder if he wasn’t able to empty his bladder as often as he would have wanted to.

“That would add to the retention of water, meaning he wouldn’t have flushed out of his system as frequently as he may have wanted.”

But he added that the infection could have been contracted before. “To think he could have had that and stood up all day yesterday makes it all the more remarkable, on the assumption it didn’t just start the moment they announced it.”