Queen appears on balcony with Royal family for Trooping the Colour flypast

ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship reports from the Mall, where people from across the globe came to pay tribute to the Queen

The Queen was joined by members of the Royal family to watch the RAF flypast over Buckingham Palace, as the four-day Platinum Jubilee celebrations to mark her 70-year reign get underway.

A delayed cheer went up as the Queen appeared on the balcony from the thousands who had gathered in The Mall and in the stands for the first day of celebrations and the Trooping the Colour ceremony.

As the aircraft approached, the Queen could be seen looking ahead and smiling broadly as she surveyed the patriotic scenes.

Prince Louis covers his ears as the flypast goes overhead. Credit: PA

The RAF Typhoons paid a special tribute to the monarch’s record-breaking reign, flying in the formation of the number 70, prompting smiles from the Queen.

Meanwhile, Prince Louis waved towards the sky and was seen resting his chin in his hands. The monarch could be seen chatting animatedly with her great-grandson who was seen holding his hands over his ears as the aircraft soared overhead.

Prince Charles, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis stepped out to watch the flypast.

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Prince Harry and Meghan, who have been keeping a low profile since arriving in the UK on Wednesday, were among the guests who watched Trooping the Colour from inside the Duke of Wellington's former office.

The Queen limited those on the balcony for the flypast to working members of her family, her Cambridge great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren – a move she took after “careful consideration” the palace said.

It meant there was no place for the Sussexes, who caused a royal crisis by quitting as senior royals, nor her disgraced second son Prince Andrew.

The Queen and Royal family watch the flypast on the balcony at Buckingham Palace

It was the second of two appearances from the monarch on the balcony on Thursday, she had appeared earlier on the balcony of the palace with her cousin, the Duke of Kent.

The 96-year-old took a salute of her soldiers returning from Trooping the Colour, after the Prince of Wales deputised for her on the parade ground.

The monarch wore a dusky dove blue Angela Kelly coat she was wearing in an official portrait released by the palace on Wednesday. She was holding a walking stick and wearing the Guards' Badge on her coat as she viewed the ceremony below her.

Watch the full Trooping the Colour ceremony here:

The once in a lifetime jubilee event will see members of the monarchy, celebrities from the UK and across the globe, and people from all parts of the UK gather to recognise the Queen’s legacy.

The Royal family left Buckingham Palace on Thursday morning in separate carriages for the Trooping the Colour ceremony.

Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, was riding alongside the Duchess of Cambridge and all three of her children, George, Charlotte and Louis in the first carriage.

It is the first time that Prince William and Kate's children have been spotted taking part in their first carriage procession.

They were followed by the Earl and Countess of Wessex with their son James, Viscount Severn, and finally the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence in the third carriage.

The monarch, who has mobility issues, deputised her usual role to future king, the Prince of Wales, who inspected the Guardsmen in their scarlet tunics and bearskins and acknowledging their salute.

Prince Charles, Prince William and the Princess Royal all rode horses in the Queen's birthday parade, riding under the arches of Horse Guards.

Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte leave Buckingham Palace for the Trooping the Colour ceremony. Credit: PA

Charles wore his scarlet Colonel of the Welsh Guards uniform and green thistle sash riding a horse named George.

The Duke of Cambridge rode on Derby in his Irish Guards uniform and Anne on a horse named Sir John in her Colonel of the Blues and Royals uniform as part of the Trooping the Colour parade.

The Platinum Jubilee medal was among the regalia worn by Charles and William.

The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and the Princess Royal rode on horses for the Trooping the Colour ceremony. Credit: PA

The nation is embracing the special extended bank holiday weekend of pomp, pageantry and star-studded festivities, which will see celebrities and the public gather in their millions in tribute to the monarch.

Thousands of wellwishers draped in Union flags, party hats and plastic tiaras flocked to London for the spectacle.

The armed forces paid an unusual tribute to the Queen, firing a double gun salute to mark the Platinum Jubilee and the 69th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation in 1953.

ITV News' Hannah Miller on how thousands across the UK marked the first day of the Jubilee celebrations

The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, named by the monarch’s father King George VI, 75 years ago this year, fired an 82-gun salute from Hyde Park beginning just before 1pm.

While 124 volleys were fired from the Tower of London by the Honourable Artillery Company – an extra 42 for the City of London – from the stroke of one o’clock.

Andrew, who paid millions to settle a civil sexual assault case, was absent from the mass royal-gathering at Trooping and will not attend St Paul's Cathedral as planned on Friday, after he tested positive for coronavirus.

The Royal Gun Salute at Tower Bridge to mark the start of the Platinum Jubilee weekend. Credit: PA

On Friday there will be no ceremonial journey to the service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Queen who has mobility problems, and the monarch, if she attends, will use a different entrance rather than scaling the steep steps.

On Thursday evening, the Queen will lead the lighting of the principal Jubilee beacon in a special dual ceremony, with the monarch at Windsor Castle and her grandson William at the Palace.

It will form the focal point of more than 3,500 flaming tributes being set ablaze across the UK and the Commonwealth.

Royal Editor Chris Ship tells Mary Nightingale what you need to know about the future challenges for the royal family and why we'll never see scenes like the Platinum Jubilee parties again: