Party at the Palace revelers have said they felt like “part of history” celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee from the grounds of her home.
Some 22,000 people heard live speeches by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales amid performances from stars including Diana Ross, Duran Duran and rock band Queen at the Buckingham Palace event on Saturday night.
Impressive visuals of the Queen were projected on to the royal residence during the patriotic two-and-a-half hour event, and drones drew three-dimensional corgis and cups of tea in the sky before a closing performance by Diana Ross.
Dean Carpenter, 53, a lecturer from Andover in Wiltshire, who also served in the military, said being at the palace felt like being “part of history”.
Mr Carpenter, who was wearing a Union Jack-patterned suit and attended with his wife Lesley Carpenter, 55, told PA: “It was amazing, absolutely fantastic – especially the royal family being there.
“The monarchy means a lot to me because I served in the military for 26-and-a-half years so the Queen was my boss for all that time.
“She was a good boss, she looked after me. I wanted to pay tribute.
“I needed to be here and be part of the atmosphere part of the crowd.
“I want to tell my grandkids ‘we were here’. It’s part of history. ”
Laura Devine, 33, who attended with her mother Pat Pollard, 59, said she was especially impressed with the drone display.
Ms Devine, a support worker who traveled from Morpeth in Northumberland for the event, told PA: “It was fabulous, excellent.
“The atmosphere was great – I thought the best part was the drones.
“I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Ms Pollard added: “The Queen has been on the throne for 70 years and she’s the mainstay of the country, so it was brilliant to be there.”
Aisha Kasim, 37, described celebrating the Queen’s 70-year reign at the royal residence as a “once in a lifetime opportunity”.
University learning support worker Ms Kasim traveled to the palace concert with her mother Mae Kasim, a retired teacher, from their home in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Aisha, who was wearing a Scottish flag, told PA: “I think it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I think it’s the sort of thing that we probably will not see again any time soon.
“(The Queen) is our longest-serving monarch, she’s done amazing all these years, so it’s just great to come along for the party and to make the journey from Scotland.
“We flew all the way from the other side of the country for this so we’re happy to be here.”
“I’m actually from Nigeria as well, I’m Nigerian-Scottish, and Nigeria was an ex-British colony, so I’ve grown up my whole life with that,” she added.
Lucy Morris, 39, and her son Lucas Wainwright, 14, traveled from Durham in North East England for the concert.
Both were wearing Union Jack wigs and face paint ahead of the concert, and Lucas described being at the event as “the best thing of my life”.
The teenager, who had also swapped his prosthetic leg to a “Jubilee-style leg” patterned with Union Jacks for the occasion, told the PA news agency: “It’s an honor to be here.”
Paying homage to the rock band Queen who performed at the concert, Ms Morris said: “He’s hoping to see the Queen, whereas I’m hoping to see the other Queen.”
Sisters Sarah Hocking, 50, and Jane Friggens, 52, said they watched Party at the Palace from The Mall nearby with thousands of others keen to see the event without a ticket.
The pair were wrapped in Union Jack flags and had traveled from St Ives in Cornwall.
Ms Hocking told PA: “Prince William and Charles – I did not expect them to come on.
“They were so grateful, so appreciative, and we are too.
“The Queen is just so dedicated to what she does and it’s good to have a figurehead and at 96 years old – she’s amazing.
“It was amazing – we absolutely loved it.”
Meanwhile, millions more people tuned in to watch the concert from their homes via BBC One.
Rock band Queen, whose guitarist Brian May performed on Buckingham Palace roof for the last Party at the Palace in 2002, was joined by singer Adam Lambert, while Eurovision star Sam Ryder also took to the stage in a glittering Union Jack-patterned suit.
Sir Elton John featured in a pre-recorded performance, and live performances were also given by Alicia Keys, Nile Rodgers, Andrea Bocelli, Hans Zimmer, Ella Eyre, Craig David, Mabel, and Elbow.