Queen returns to Windsor Castle ready to join Jubilee celebrations

Footage shows Her Majesty's convoy heading into the gates of Windsor Castle on Tuesday afternoon

The Queen has returned to Windsor Castle ready to join the nation’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark her 70 years on the throne.

The monarch had travelled to her Scottish sanctuary, Balmoral, on Thursday for a short break in order to pace herself ahead of the busy four-day weekend of festivities.

Buckingham Palace said the Queen's plane journey from Balmoral to Windsor was stuck in a lightning storm on Tuesday .

A palace spokesperson said: “The Queen’s flight was delayed due to a lightning storm, all the correct procedures were followed and there were no safety concerns”

The 96-year-old head of state arrived back at her Berkshire royal residence on Tuesday, two days before the Jubilee weekend gets under way, Buckingham Palace said.

The Queen is likely to have been resting ahead of the milestone festivities, having faced mobility problems for several months.

Her Majesty had said she's had difficulty walking and was pictured out with a walking stick at several public events.

The gold state coach passes the Houses of Parliament during an early morning rehearsal on Tuesday. Credit: PA

This weekend marks the first time in history Britain has celebrated a royal Platinum Jubilee.

Early morning rehearsals for the pageant took place on The Mall on Tuesday with the Gold State Coach seen heading through central London via the Houses of Parliament, as the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force went through their last-minute preparations.

The Coach will appear on the day with archive footage of the Queen – travelling in it on for her Coronation – broadcast on the windows, making it seem as if the monarch is in the carriage.

Royal superfans, some of whom have travelled from across the world, have camped out days ahead of the celebrations and laughed off torrential downpours which they said were “worth it” to be part of the celebrations.

Buckingham Palace previously said the Queen plans to join the celebrations but her attendance is only likely to be confirmed on Thursday morning - the first day of commemorations.

For the latest royal news, listen to our podcast The Royal Rota

Royal fans are hoping to see her appear on the balcony with her family for the traditional Trooping the Colour military spectacle, which will kick start festivities with more than 1,500 officers and soldiers and 350 horses from the Household Division.

A Palace source previously said the Queen had decided "after careful consideration" that Prince AndrewPrince Harry and Meghan Markle will not appear on the balcony but 18 members of the royal family are set to gather on the famous frontage.

Millions across the country are set to take to the streets for parties and Big Jubilee Lunches this weekend in honour of the nation’s longest-reigning monarch.

Patriotic tributes to the Queen around the UK include a life-size woollen knitted monarch plus corgi made by Holmes Chapel Community Yarn Bombers in Cheshire, and a 5ft 3in Victoria sponge cake in the shape of the sovereign by social media star Lara Mason.

Royal superfan Donna Werner (right), from the US, sits beside a tent pitched on The Mall. Credit: PA

What festivities are planned over the Jubilee weekend?

The commemorations kick start with the traditional Trooping the Colour military spectacle on Thursday.

In the evening, more than 3,000 beacons will be set ablaze across the UK and the Commonwealth in tribute to the Queen, with the principal Tree of Trees beacon illuminated outside the Palace.

There will be no ceremonial journey to the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Queen on Friday June 3, and the monarch, if she attends, will use a different entrance rather than scaling the steep steps.

Troops of the Household Cavalry on The Mall on Tuesday morning. Credit: PA

And the Queen’s planned visit to Epsom for the Derby on Saturday is off, with the Princess Royal attending on her behalf.

Saturday is also the first birthday of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s daughter Lilibet, amid speculation the Queen will get to meet her namesake for the first time and possibly attend her christening when Harry and Meghan fly back for the Jubilee.

In the evening, the BBC’s Party at the Palace – set on three stages in front of Buckingham Palace – will entertain a live crowd of 22,000 people and a television audience of millions.

The line-up includes Diana Ross, Queen + Adam Lambert, Alicia Keys, Nile Rodgers, Andrea Bocelli, Duran Duran, Bond composer Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, Elbow and George Ezra.

Huge crowds are expected similar to past Jubilees - pictured 2002 Golden Jubilee. Credit: PA

Charles and William are preparing to deliver public tributes at the concert to the Queen, who is due to be watching on television from Windsor.

On Sunday, millions will gather for patriotic street parties, picnics and barbecues, with more than 85,000 Big Jubilee Lunches being held across the UK.

The finale is the Jubilee Pageant through the streets of London, with a cast of 6,000 performers and close to 200 celebrities joining the carnival procession.

It is hoped the monarch will make a final appearance on the Buckingham Palace balcony to round off the weekend to see Ed Sheeran singing the national anthem with a choir made up of Britain’s “national treasures”.