The Queen has remained one of the most poised public figures in the world in the course of her 70-year reign, rarely revealing her emotions in public.
Now, however, an insider has revealed that the huge outpouring of thanks from the British public and from around the Commonwealth left her ‘tearful and overwhelmed with emotion’ during the grand finale of the Jubilee celebrations last Sunday.
Dressed in a vibrant green Stewart Parvin crepe wool dress and coat with matching hat by Rachel Trevor-Morgan, the Queen was seen standing next to a slimmed-down version of the official working members of the Royal Family.
Yet the historic moment nearly didn’t happen at all.
A source said: ‘The Queen only decided that she would go to London about three hours before the balcony appearance.
‘She was not feeling brilliant but the Prince of Wales had called her and told her she really ought to come if she could.
The Queen waves to the adoring crowds on Sunday, the final day of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant at the Buckingham Palace after nearly not appearing due to ‘not feeling brilliant’
Four generations of the Royal family appeared on the Buckingham Palace balcony: Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, Prince Louis of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
Crowds enjoyed a rendition of the national anthem while they watched the Queen celebrate the final day of her Platinum Jubilee on a big screen at the end of the Mall
The Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry led The Gold State Coach along a crowd-thronged route back to Buckingham Palace in a pageant extravaganza that delighted those present
The crowds – who had been desperate to see her – went wild as Queen Elizabeth II appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace at the end of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant outside Buckingham Palace
Crowds overflowed in every major area of Central London, this time in Trafalgar Square, as they watched the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on a big screen on day four of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II
‘He told her there were so many people desperate to see her and he convinced her to come.’
Bound by duty, the Queen travelled from Windsor to London and was astonished by the goodwill shown to her when she arrived.
A source said: ‘The Queen was totally overwhelmed by the number of people waiting to see her – she had tears in her eyes before she stepped out on the balcony.’
After agreement with the Prince of Wales and Duke of Cambridge, the appearance had been carefully choreographed in the moments beforehand – that the 96-year-old Monarch would be seen with the Prince of Wales to her right and the Duke of Cambridge and his eldest son, Prince George, to her left – a lasting image of the next three generations who will succeed her.
It may be the last time that all four generations are seen on such a high-profile occasion.
It is reported that the Prince of Wales had called the Queen before the finale of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday and told her she really ought to come if she could
The present and future generation of the Royal family were on display on Sunday, with William and Kate standing behind Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis
Tens of thousands of people filled out famous London locations, such as Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace
A source said: ‘The Queen was totally overwhelmed by the number of people waiting to see her – she had tears in her eyes before she stepped out on the balcony’
The Jubilee saw an outpouring of patriotism and community feeling, with street parties all over the counrty and Union JAck flags being waved
Inspired by the response from the public at home and abroad, the Queen issued a deeply personal message of thanks.
She said: ‘While I may not have attended every event in person, my heart has been with you all; and I remain committed to serving you to the best of my ability, supported by my family.’
It is rare that the Queen has shown emotion in public – although she was seen discreetly wiping away a tear during a ceremony to decommission her beloved Royal Yacht Britannia in December 1997.
The Queen will now embark upon a new phase in her reign.
A source said: ‘Over time, the Queen will revert to becoming a more virtual Queen with digital appearances and video calls.’
Rather than ‘looking back’ on the Jubilee, a Royal source now says that the Queen is ‘looking ahead’.
She is expected to spend a long summer break in Scotland, where Craigowan Lodge, a stone cottage on the Balmoral Estate, has been fitted out with mobility aides, including a stair lift.
Queen Elizabeth II appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with the Duke of Kent on the first day of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Thursday
The Royal family were joined on the balcony on the first day by Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Viscount Severn, standing right of shot
Tomorrow the Queen plans to be at the investiture for the Order of the Garter, though she will not join the procession or attend the service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
The historic ceremony will see the Duchess of Cornwall installed to the 700-year-old order of Knighthood, along with former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Baroness Amos. The appointments are in the gift of the Queen.
After tomorrow’s ceremony the Queen will be looking forward to visiting the place where she feels she can truly relax – Balmoral.
The weekend before the Platinum Jubilee festivities, the Queen went up to Scotland with her bloodstock manager John Warren to see the foals born this year.
An insider said: ‘After everything that’s happened this year and the success of the Jubilee, I can’t think that anyone would begrudge our 96-year-old Sovereign a well-deserved break.’