LONDON (AFP) ― Paul McCartney rounded off a fireworks-filled concert outside Buckingham Palace on Monday, where hundreds of thousands of people partied to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s diamond jubilee.
The Beatles star closed the show in style with a blazing rendition of “Live And Let Die” and a mass singalong of “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” as revellers turned the heart of London into a sea of Union Jack flags.
Prince Charles then gave a touching tribute to his “mummy” and led the giant crowd in sending three cheers to the queen as she marks her 60th year on the throne.
|Australian singer Kylie Minogue performs during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace in London on Monday. (AFP-Yonhap News)|
The sovereign, 86, gave a beaming smile and waved to the crowds, who had partied and danced through a three-hour show that included Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue and Robbie Williams.
“We offer you our humble duty and with it three resounding cheers for Her Majesty the Queen. Hip hip, hooray!” Charles said.
The queen smiled as the crowd carried on shouting “hooray!”
McCartney had guests in the royal box on their feet as he ended the night with “Magical Mystery Tour,” “All My Loving” and “Let It Be” before the fireworks finale.
Joking, he said the queen had asked for people to leave the show in an orderly fashion, “or she will be forced to unleash the corgis,” her beloved dogs.
The queen took her place in the royal box for the second half of the concert, but was without her 90-year-old husband Prince Philip, who had been taken to hospital earlier in the day with a bladder infection.
Wearing a black cape with gold buttons ― and a discreet pair of yellow earplugs ― Charles escorted her to her seat.
The queen seemed touched as the crowd chanted Prince Philip’s name after sending him a big “get well” cheer.
Staged on the Queen Victoria Memorial, the show kicked off in warm evening sunshine with pyrotechnics and an energetic performance from Take That singer Williams that got the crowds rocking.
After an opening salvo from a military band, resplendent in their scarlet tunics and bearskin hats, Williams jumped out to join them for a high-octane rendition of his song “Let Me Entertain You.”
The crowd were told the concert was being watched live by 250,000 people.
The Mall, the ceremonial route to the palace, was filled with revellers decked out in red, white and blue enjoying the gig on giant screens.
Senior royals were in the stands, including Prince William, his wife Catherine and brother Prince Harry. Prime Minister David Cameron and Anglican leader Rowan Williams were also in the royal box.
Grace Jones, 64, performed “Slave to the Rhythm” in a sultry plastic outfit and kept a hula hoop going throughout.
Cliff Richard, 71, performed a medley of his songs from throughout the queen’s reign, Chinese pianist Lang Lang played and Tom Jones rounded off the first half with a Latin-themed version of “Delilah.”
After Williams returned to open the second half, the next performance was “Sing” ― specially written by concert organiser Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and featuring artists from across the Commonwealth.
Harry, who played tambourine on the recorded version, stayed in the royal box for the rendition.
Following a crowd wave from the back of The Mall to the front, Welsh diva Shirley Bassey performed “Diamonds are Forever,” before Australian star Kylie Minogue took to the stage and then Elton John, who appeared in a sparkling pink jacket.
Cult ska band Madness performed “Our House” from the roof of Buckingham Palace, with colourful projections on the palace front below.
Images from the queen’s reign dating back to her 1953 coronation were beamed onto the walls as the orchestra played U2’s “Beautiful Day.”
U.S. star Wonder added new words to his song “Superstition,” getting the crowds dancing to the lyrics: “We’re celebrating, the diamond jubilee.”
Australian artist Rolf Harris, compering, told the crowd: “We’re here to celebrate a generous and compassionate lady who has given 60 years of service to the people of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.”
“She’s been an inspiration to millions; she’s touched hearts throughout the world ― a living testimony to the power of kindness, dedication, tolerance and loyalty.”
“A lady who has upheld the best of British by keeping calm and carrying on.”
“Your Majesty, we thank you for 60 wonderful years.”