June 2 (UPI) — Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee kicked off Thursday with a military parade with 1,400 troops and plenty of pomp and pageantry for her majesty’s 70th year on the throne.
The military parade, called Trooping the Color, is a staple during the four-day holiday to recognize the queen’s formal birthday. Queen Elizabeth turned 96 on April 21.
Members of the royal family have traditionally gathered at a Buckingham Palace balcony at the end of the parade.
In a part of the royal drama, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will leave Buckingham Palace with the rest of the royal family, giving the public their first view of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex next to Prince William and Duchess Kate since the Sussexes departed from full-time duties two years ago.
The Sussexes will not appear on the balcony for a Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force flypast over the palace. Prince Andrew will not appear as well.
In the evening, more than 1,500 beacons will be lit across Britain, the Channel Islands, Isle of Man and overseas territories to form a “chain of lights” in recognition of the jubilee. The “principal beacon” will be lit in a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace by Prince William on the command of the Queen.
The jubilee will conclude on Sunday when a gold state carriage, led by the sovereign’s escort, will lead a pageant on a nearly two-mile route up the Mall to Buckingham Palace. It will include more than 10,000 people, including military, volunteers, performers and key workers.