The Queen has lit the first of her Platinum Jubilee lighthouses, and has sent a spark of light around the globe, heralding the start of festivities throughout the Commonwealth.
With a touch of her hand, the head of state illuminated a globe and sent a river of light from its Windsor Castle home to Buckingham Palace, where the Duke of Cambridge watched as the Tree of Trees sculpture was bathed in light.
The symbolic moment came at the end of the first day of the monarch’s celebration, which marked her 70th anniversary, and was something she “enjoyed very much”.
After acknowledging the salute of the soldiers and women who participated in Trooping the Color, she returned to the balcony of Buckingham Palace and received admiration from the crowds surrounded by her family while watching the traditional airplane passage.
But she experienced a recurrence of her “episodic mobility problems” and decided to cancel her appearance at the Thanksgiving Service for 70-year reign, which was held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday.
As she walked from Windsor Castle’s Sovereign’s Entrance into the square, the queen saw more than 100 people living within the walls of the royal home and were invited to the event.
Peter McGowran, chief yeoman warder of the Tower of London, carefully placed the Commonwealth of Nations Globe on a stand that shone purple.
The object – a globe within a crown – has been kept by the tower for security reasons, and other soldiers were present.
After touching the symbol of the world, which sat on a pillow, the purple stand turned white, and a river of purple light spread over the square, turning white in order.
Competition champion Bruno Peake, who organized lighthouses marking the queen’s diamond and platinum anniversaries, said more than 3,500 lighthouses would be lit around the globe, something the queen commented on.
After speaking with the monarch, he added: “She said, ‘More beacons, every time you do, you have more beacons’ – which is amazing.
“Being able to stand next to your monarch and celebrate a unique anniversary and a moment in her life is such a privilege. It looked like she would not leave.”
The queen wore a new piece of jewelery to the event – a diamond brooch, which was a gift ordered by the Goldsmith Company to mark her platinum anniversary.
The brooch is inspired by the four home nations, which are represented by four diamond vortices and the national flowers – rose, thistle, daffodil and shamrock.
It also includes a representation of the flowering plant lily of the valley, which was part of the Queen’s coronation bouquet.