Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II attends the Armed Forces Parade and Muster in Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, Saturday. — APLONDON
— Thousands of troops paraded past Windsor Castle Saturday in celebration of the diamond jubilee of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, as a poll showed support for the monarchy at its highest for decades.
The queen and her husband Prince Philip watched as 2,500 troops from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force marched through the castle’s grounds and through the town to music from six military bands.
The parade culminated in a flypast of 78 aircraft, including planes dating from the World War II Battle of Britain, while the Red Arrows jet display team streaked across the sky leaving a patriotic trail of red, white and blue smoke.
It is traditional for the armed forces to pay tribute to the monarch during a jubilee year, with similar events held for Queen Victoria and King George V.
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards said the queen’s support “has created a very special bond between our monarch and her forces.”
“The parade and muster will truly be a day to remember. It is an opportunity to highlight the unique relationship the queen has with the men and women of the Armed Forces and of the role she fills in our lives,” he said.
The military parade in Windsor, to the west of London, was part of a programme of events to mark the 60th year of the queen’s reign.
On Friday, she hosted a lunch for nearly 50 foreign royals at the castle, including the king of Bahrain, whose attendance sparked controversy because of the Gulf state’s deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.
The diamond jubilee celebrations reach a climax on June 2-5 when the highlight will be a river pageant featuring a 1,000-boat flotilla on the Thames in London.
A combination of the jubilee and the addition of the Duchess of Cambridge — the former Kate Middleton — to the royal family has pushed support for the monarchy to its highest level for decades, a new poll showed.
Some 80 percent of Britons want to remain subjects of the queen, while just 13 percent are in favor of a republic, according to the survey of more than 1,000 adults carried out by Ipsos MORI and published in the Daily Telegraph. – AFP