Anniversary: ​​Balcony Moment tells the story of the British monarchy over the years

LONDON (AP) – A 9-year-old girl, Princess Elizabeth, appeared with her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to celebrate her …

LONDON (AP) – A 9-year-old girl, Princess Elizabeth, appeared with her family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to celebrate the silver anniversary of her grandfather George V, with an excited smile on her face as she stared at the crowd below.

Most of the century later, the former princess – now 96-year-old Queen Elizabeth II – is expected to come out on the same balcony this week to smile and wave to the millions of people celebrating her 70th birthday on the throne.

The appearance of the balcony is a central element of almost all royal celebrations in Britain, it is an opportunity for the public to look at the family gathered for a grand photo at weddings, coronations and anniversaries. Every June, the large royal family donned the best uniforms, hats and dresses and gathered to celebrate the Queen’s birthday, which is celebrated with an extravagant military parade known as the Trooping the Color, and ends with a moment on the balcony after the Royal Air Force flies by .

Images of balconies over the decades tell of the changing face of the monarchy and offer images of many stages in Elizabeth’s life. In her youth, the princess wore a military uniform and stood next to Winston Churchill to mark the end of World War II in 1945.

Eight years later she donned the crown of the imperial state and royal robes to welcome a sea of ​​ecstatic subjects after her own coronation.

This Thursday, for those who will be absent, will be the highlight of the family balcony Platinum Jubilee. Earlier this month, palace officials announced that “after careful consideration” the queen had decided that only working members of the royal family and their children would gather on the balcony.

This means that Prince Harry and his wife Megan have retired from frontline royal duties and moved to California in 2020, and their young children will be excluded. So will Prince Andrew, who has been disgraced by the sex scandal and his connections to the deceased convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

“I think the decision to have only current members of the royal family on the balcony was very wise, because it avoids awkward situations,” said Emily Nash, royal editor of HELLO! magazine.

“People are watching the development of the family to see if there is tension, and I think that when we see Prince Andrew on the balcony, there will be a great resonance. In this way, he solves all these problems in one fell swoop, ”Nash added. “But the palace has made it clear that Harry and Megan remain very beloved members of the family and they will be here.”

Harry and Megan, known as the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have said they will fly to the UK with their two young children and look forward to joining the long holiday weekend. This trip will be the family’s first visit to Harry’s home country, and any appearance at the anniversary events – including a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral and a possible second balcony meeting on Sunday – will be closely monitored.

Andrew, meanwhile, will be kept out of the public eye after he recently reached a multimillion-dollar deal with a woman who filed a lawsuit in the U.S. accusing him of sexual assault when she was 17 years old. The queen’s second son was stripped of his honorary military rank in January amid a scandal.

Some royal observers say the limited choice of balconies this Thursday is also in line with Prince Charles ’long-held desire to cut the monarchy.

The decision means that on Thursday on the balcony the queen will be next to her 73-year-old heir Charles and his wife Camilla; Prince William, second in line to the throne, with his wife Kate and three children; and brothers and sisters of Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Edward, together with their wives.

The group will be joined by several other lesser-known members of the royal family, including the Queen’s cousin, the Duke of Gloucester and his wife, as well as the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.

While some past meetings on the balcony included a large contingent of the royal family – including the Queen’s distant cousins ​​- at the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, the Queen was accompanied by just five close family members: Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry.

“It was important, it means it’s the future, people,” said Robert Hardman, the monarch’s biographer and author of The Queen of Our Time: The Life of Elizabeth II.

This week “it’s not the case that Andrew, Harry or Megan aren’t banned from going out on the balcony,” Hardman added. “They have resigned from royal duties, so they are not part of the operational unit. That’s the thing. “

The tradition of the balcony began with Queen Victoria, who in the 19th century turned Buckingham Palace into the official residence of the monarch and the home of the royal family. Victoria first appeared on the royal balcony during the opening ceremony of the Great Exhibition of 1851.

It is a symbolic moment of rapprochement between the crown and the people, said Ed Owens, royal historian and author of The Family Firm: The Monarchy, the Media and the British Public 1932-1953.

“It was popularized as this moment when the nation came to look at the royal person,” Owens said.

This is an official event, although mischievous royal children often steal the stage. Harry, 3 years old and still in the arms of his mother Diana, was impressed when he stuck out his tongue in front of the photographers.

Royal observers hope the Queen, who now has mobility problems and recently missed several major public appearances, will attend the balcony on Thursday and at least one or two events scheduled for a four-day platinum anniversary weekend. But there are no promises.

“We can’t take anything for granted – at 96, you have good and bad days,” said Joe Little, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine. “The palace takes it very strongly one day after another.”


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