The Queen has thanked the nation on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations as she unveiled a new portrait to mark the historic milestone.
Her Majesty has spoken to the country as millions prepare for street parties in her honour over a bumper Bank Holiday weekend.
The 96-year-old monarch said ‘many happy memories’ would be formed during the festivities and that she continues to be inspired by the goodwill shown to her.
She said she hoped the Jubilee weekend would provide an opportunity to reflect on the achievements during her 70 years on the throne.
Britain’s longest reigning monarch spoke of looking to the future with ‘confidence and enthusiasm’.
The Queen looks contented and happy, photographed in her Windsor Castle home, sitting on a cushioned window seat, with the historic residence’s famous Round Tower visible in the distance.
With her hands resting on her lap and her hair curled in its familiar style, she is dressed in a dusky dove blue Angela Kelly coat made of wool Charmelaine.
The shiny pearl and diamante scalloped beading, embroidered around the collar and cascading down front trim, is perhaps seemingly a nod to her historic Platinum anniversary.
Commemorations of Elizabeth II’s long reign get under way in full tomorrow with the traditional Trooping the Colour parade and balcony appearance.
The photo, taken in the Victoria Vestibule in the Queen’s private Windsor apartments, was taken by photographer Ranald Mackechnie.
He took two previous portraits of the Queen alongside the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George to mark her 90th birthday in 2016.
He said it was ‘an honour to be asked’ to take the official Jubilee portrait and said it was a ‘privilege’ to photograph the monarch for the special occasion.
Royals fans gathered in central London will be hoping to see the Queen on the balcony after the Trooping parade, as well as at the service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday and possibly again on the balcony after the carnival Pageant finale on Sunday.
As well as wearing her trademark pearls, the Queen also has on her wedding and diamond engagement ring, as she usually does, and her gold watch.
The Platinum festivities are poignantly the first major Jubilee celebrations of the Queen’s reign without her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April last year.
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