Queen overjoyed as thousands of patriotic fans gathered at The Mall

Queen's Jubilee: The public give their view on the royal family

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They were all there to pay tribute to their much-loved monarch as she stood on the Buckingham Palace balcony and surveyed the scene on an historic day for her country. That balcony has borne witness to the highs and, in some respects, the lows of her reign during the past 70 years. She and her family have used it to celebrate their many milestones.

But absences from the balcony gatherings have often told a different story.

As the crowd, who had witnessed a spectacular flypast, gave three cheers yesterday, their focus was on the diminutive matriarch standing there in a dusky dove blue Charmelaine wool dress and matching hat. But on her big day there was also a sense of a passing of the torch.

Around her stood the current working members of the family with some of their children and, at their heart, the smaller group who will form the future of the monarchy.

How many more of these balcony appearances the 96-year-old monarch will make is open to question, as is the number of events she will attend in the future.

She did not take part in the Trooping the Colour ceremony at Horse Guards yesterday, leaving it to Prince Charles to take the salute there. Her son and heir is increasingly assuming the key roles of the monarch, although she will continue to reign.

Some felt this was the start of a long farewell.

At the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, 40 members of the Royal Family stood on the balcony. Ten years ago, at the Diamond Jubilee event, it was a mere five – Charles, Camilla, William, Kate and Harry.

In-between those two gatherings, she has lost the services of Andrew, Harry and Meghan.

The slimmed-down monarchy in the future may boil down to just Charles, Camilla and the Cambridges, with perhaps some help from Princess Anne for a few years.

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