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Tuesday, 4 June, 2002, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Crowds cheer parade of nations
Performers in colourful costumes dazzled on the Mall

After nearly four full days of celebrating you might have expected the public enthusiasm to have waned. Not a bit of it.

On Tuesday afternoon the roads around Buckingham Palace were again spilling over with well-wishers who had come to lap up the last of the official celebrations.

The day had started with a distinctly formal tone, as the Queen and other members of the Royal Family processed to St Paul's Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving.

But by the time she had returned from the official lunch engagement with the Lord Mayor of London a party atmosphere presided among the crowds that lined the Mall.

Flag-waving crowds in the Mall
A million people crammed into central London
In the Queen's absence, the crowd was treated to some Caribbean-flavoured entertainment, courtesy of the organisers of the annual Notting Hill carnival.

Singer Patti Boulaye helped warm up the masses as she led a march of 5,000 dancers from Admiralty Arch down to the Palace grounds.

A chorus of gospel singers provided the uplifting soundtrack.

"Celebrate the good news," they sang, "It has been so long since we have been so strong."

The sentiment said it all.

Public affection

With the prediction at the start of the year that the Jubilee would flounder amid public apathy towards the Royal Family, events of the last few days have proved conclusively otherwise, showing that the Queen and the monarchy are still held in high esteem by millions of British people.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen and Prince Philip watched the parade
The sense of affection was given an almost tangible feel as Her Majesty appeared for the afternoon's festivities.

A charge of excitement ran through the crowd who had waited so patiently along the Mall.

Union flags fluttered furiously as onlookers watching large video relay screens, caught their first sight of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh riding in an open-top Range Rover.

By the time she came into view the babble of expectation had turned into whoops of appreciation and support.

Visual feast

Shortly afterwards, the Queen and Prince Philip took their seats at the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace, in readiness for the parades - the first of which marked those public services which had served the nation over the past 50 years.

It was a visual feast especially for the younger members of the crowd.

Veteran, volunteers and current members of the institutions such as the ambulance service, the Automobile Association and the British Red Cross filed past, all in uniform.

Children marvelled at the display of hardware which included a helicopter, a lifeboat, ambulances, fire engines and even a space satellite.

The Queen at Buckingham Palace balcony
She later greeted crowds from the palace balcony
There followed a 50-year parade with floats depicting each of the five decades of the Queen's rule.

This was really one for the parents and older members of the crowd - a trip down memory lane with Rock and Roll dancing, swinging 60s revellers and 70s disco devotees all appearing in the parade.

A Commonwealth parade followed which represented the rich and varied cultures of the 54 Commonwealth nations.

By teatime all that was left was the much anticipated balcony appearance by the Queen and the Duke and the flypast marking the end of four extraordinary and memorable days in the life of the Queen and the Royal Family and many ordinary families from across the country.

The BBC's Robert Hall
"This was surely the shared experience everyone had hoped for"

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