Pomp and pageantry kicked off the final day of festivities celebrating the Queen’s 70-year reign as a ceremonial military procession launched the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.
Guardsmen, Gurkhas, Royal Marines and the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment in their breastplates and plumed feathers were among the hundreds of servicemen and women who led the way marching along the streets around Buckingham Palace.
The Queen was missing from the royal box but revellers are still hoping she will make a balcony appearance for the carnival’s finale.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were also absent for a second day running from the festivities, but the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis were seated for the street carnival extravaganza.
Thousands had gathered to watch the spectacle mirroring scenes from Saturday night when The Mall was filled with people delighted by Queen’s appearance with Paddington Bear at the Party at the Palace, and entertained by stars like Sir Elton John and Alicia Keys.
Charles spoke about the camaraderie the Jubilee celebrations have fostered, telling revellers at The Big Lunch’s flagship event in London he hoped “bickering” does not return after the feeling of “togetherness” across the nation.
His sentiment was echoed by Pageant Master Adrian Evans, who has spent 18 months planning the £15 million event, featuring some 10,000 people including a cast of 6,000 performers.
Mr Evans told BBC News: “I hope at the end of the day people will feel a great sense of pride in what they’ve seen, enjoyment in what they’ve seen, humour and joy is an important part of what we’re doing today but also connected, that we are much more connected then we think we are.”
The ambitious pageant is split into four acts: For Queen And Country with a military parade; The Time Of Our Lives progressing through seven decades of culture, music and fashion; Let’s Celebrate telling the story of the Queen’s life in 12 chapters with corgi puppets and carnival creations; and the Happy And Glorious musical spectacle.
The Gold State Coach, featuring archive footage of the Queen projected onto the windows, led the parade of military units and it seemed as if the monarch was sat in the carriage.
Later celebrities will travel in decorated open top double-decker buses for the decade-by-decade celebrations.
Among the sights will be a peloton of 300 cyclists, riding vintage bikes from across the seven decades of the Queen’s reign, which will travel down The Mall led by Sir Chris Hoy and cycling golden couple Dame Laura and Sir Jason Kenny.
Close to 200 national treasures will take to the stage to serenade the Queen by singing the national anthem at the grand finale of the Platinum Jubilee festivities.
Mr Evans told Sky News: “I hope it will be a great day, everyone’s very excited and it’s palpitating how excited everybody is today.
“It’s about participation.
“What I wanted to do first and foremost was provide an opportunity for people to express themselves in their own wonderful, idiosyncratic, quirky way and that to the iconic streets around Buckingham Palace.”