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05 JUNE 2012
Majestic display and very British weather for finale
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05 JUNE 2012
A deafening roar of approval reverberated around the streets outside Westminster Palace as the Queen's carriage began its stately progress to Buckingham Palace.
Her instructions to procession organiser Crown Equerry Colonel Toby Browne had been unequivocal – that she be as close and visible to as many people as possible.
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Bravely, given the capricious weather, the monarch rode with the top of the magnificent 1902 State Landau down. This was the same horse-drawn carriage used by the bride and groom during the royal wedding a year before.
The depth of feeling on display from her adoring public brough a wide smile to her face.
In the absence of the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen was seated next to her daughter-in-law, the Duchess of Cornwall. Opposite her was her son and heir, Charles.
In line with tradition, as the reigning sovereign she occupied the right side of the carriage.
And in scenes reminiscent of their own fairytale nuptials, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were riding in their own State Landau alongside Prince Harry.
Gathered as far as the eye could see were well-wishers, buoyed up by four days of national joy, which have only increased respect for this diminutive woman who has more than made good on a promise made over sixty years ago.
Their loyalty has been rewarded by the doughty Queen, who has been soldiering on despite her sadness that her husband of 64 years cannot be by her side, in the royal equivalent of the show must go on.
Military bands accompanied the sovereign along the historic route which was lined by members of all three Armed Forces.
And a 60-gun salute fired by the King's Troop, a ceremonial unit founded by her father George VI in 1947, thundered down The Mall.