The Jubilee Muster of Ma'am's troops: Three Armed Forces march through Windsor as RAF jets conduct awesome flypast tribute


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-Huge Armed Forces Diamond Jubilee Parade and Muster held to mark unique relationship between the Armed Forces and the Queen
-Some 2,500 members of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force march through Windsor
-Six military bands and a tri-service Guard of Honour also took part
-Duke of York, Princess Royal and the Earl and Countess of Wessex watched the parade

By Rob Preece

Happy occasion: The Queen shares a joke with Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watched with pride today as thousands of troops paraded through Windsor to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

Crowds of onlookers wearing red, white and blue lined the town's streets to greet members of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force as they marched.

The huge Armed Forces Diamond Jubilee Parade and Muster was held to mark the unique relationship between the Armed Forces and the Queen - who serves as their Commander-in-Chief.

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Colourful: The Red Arrows fly above Windsor Castle, leaving trails of red, white and blue

Some 2,500 servicemen paraded through the Quadrangle of Windsor Castle and then through the town, together with a tri-service Guard of Honour and six military bands.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh followed the same route as they drove through the cheering crowds.

RAF aircraft produced some eye-catching displays, whether it was the Red Arrows leaving red, white and blue vapour trails or Hawks, Tornados and Tucanos flying in formation to spell out messages to the monarch.

The Queen wore a turquoise silk, lace and sequined dress with a matching coat and hat by designer Angela Kelly.

Philip wore the navy blue uniform of Admiral of the Fleet with the Garter sash.
He was made Lord High Admiral by the Queen last year.

Written in the sky: Twenty-seven Hawks fly over the castle in the formation of 'ER'

In formation: British Royal Air Force fighter planes fly past in honour of the Queen

The couple smiled and waved at well-wishers in scenes reminiscent of last year's Royal Wedding.

They were joined by other members of the Royal Family including the Duke of York, his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, and the Princess Royal.

Large crowds had begun to gather by 8am, and by the time the parade set off shortly after 10.30am, a 40-deep bank of people had formed along the parade route.

With the crowd swelling beyond the expectations of many, picnic blankets and chairs had to be hastily packed up to make room for the thousands who continued to arrive.

Family occasion: The Queen reviews the troops, joined by Princess Anne (far left), Prince Andrew (third left), the Duke of Edinburgh (to the right of the Queen) and Prince Edward (far right)

In position: Sailors, soldiers and RAF personnel parade in honour of the Queen at Windsor Castle

Spectators wildly waved their flags as they packed themselves onto Windsor's cobbled streets and gathered on balconies in the hope of getting a prime viewing spot.

Some resourceful members of the crowd had anticipated the surge, and turned up armed with step-ladders to get a better view.

Other members of the public saw the events unfold on big screens set up at the Long Walk so they could watch the muster taking place inside the arena.

The applause and flag-waving continued for the 15 minutes it took the long stream of troops to march through the park on their way to honour the Queen at Windsor Castle, where they mustered in a specially-built arena.

Once the Queen had arrived at the arena, hymns were sung and prayers read out before Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards, addressed the Queen on behalf of the three services.

She then replied with a speech of her own and those gathered listened to pieces of music composed in honour of the special day.

The celebrations came to a spectacular finish with a tri-service flypast of 78 aircraft in the skies above the Long Walk and the Castle.

Vendors selling Union Jack flags and hats did a roaring trade as the crowds grew.

One of the first to secure his place at the front was electrician Ron Heggarty, who had travelled from Chesham, Bucks, with pals.

Mr Heggarty, 62, said: 'It's a good chance for us to get behind our armed forces.
'We've lost our tradition a bit in this country, but we've got to get behind the Queen.'

The dazzling spectacle started with not so much a bang, but with an almighty roar as the RAF Typhoons performed a flypast over the ancient Windsor Castle, before the parade participants made their way from Windsor Great Park.

With the sun shining brightly, onlookers strained to get a glimpse at the parade as more than 2,500 immaculately-dressed troops marched past, accompanied by six military bands.

Pomp and ceremony: Some 2,500 military personnel took part in the event

And still they come... Members of the Royal Navy march in the Quandrangle

Emily Bell, 38, went to the event with her children Daniel, nine, and Laura, seven.

'It's nice that we can still turn out in force for our Armed Forces like this,' she said.

'It's a good way to show our appreciation.

'And we're all very pro-Royal in our house.'

Salute: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh watched as thousands of servicemen filed past

Unison: The look of concentration on servicemen's faces is clear to see as the parade marches past the cheering crowds

Red, white and blue: More participants in the parade stand to attention

March: The Parade and Muster was held to mark the unique relationship between the Armed Forces and the Queen - who serves as their Commander-in-Chief

Sounds good: Bands played new pieces of music written especially for the event

Leading the flypast, the biggest of its kind for years, were Merlin helicopters from RAF Benson in Oxfordshire, closely followed by the famous Lancaster bomber which was escorted by four Spitfires of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.

Tucanos in the formation of a '60' came next, to the amusement of the smiling Queen, who accessorized her bright turquoise coat and blue dress with a string of pearls and jewelled broach. Two Tornados and a VC10 preceded a fleet of Hawks flying in formation in the shape 'E II R'.

The display was accompanied by the strains of Edward Elgar's Land of Hope and Glory.
Next came the Red Arrows.

Up in the air: An RAF Chinook helicopter flies over Windsor

Upstanding: The Queen leaves after the parade, walking past a line of Beefeaters

The crowd roared in excitement as the Red Arrows soared overhead, complete with their customary red, white and blue plumes of smoke, before the event came to an end with a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen.

Linda Armitage, 42, who arrived moments before the parade began, said: 'We hadn't expected this many people, it's a wonderful occasion.'

Sailors from the Royal Navy led the way into the arena, which had been the site of last week's Windsor Horse Show, followed by representatives from the other services including the Coldstream Guards sporting their famous Bearskins.

As the troops gathered in formation on the parade arena in front of a stage designed to look like Buckingham Palace, the guests were treated to music played by the combined bands.

Once everyone for the Tri-Service Guard of Honour was in place, the Queen and Philip were driven in a State Bentley along the parade route to more cheers and applause.

The Royal Family took their positions in the grandstand in front of members of foreign royal families, including the Sultan of Brunei, the Queen and Prince of Denmark, the King and Queen of Lesotho, the Grand Duke and Duchess of Luxembourg, the King and Queen of Norway, the King of Swaziland, the King and Queen of Sweden, the Crown Prince and Princess of Thailand and the King and Queen of Tonga.

A short service of prayers, readings and hymns led by the Reverend Scott Brown, the Chaplain of the Fleet, followed.

Anticipation: Crowds gather outside Windsor Castle to watch the parade

He said: "With respect and affection, we give thanks for the example she (the Queen) has set her people, and we pray that, supported by the love and loyalty of her subjects, she may be given health and strength to continue her service and long to reign over us."

Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, said to the crowd and the Queen from the podium in the arena: 'For six decades, your devotion to duty, sense of honour, and pride in our country have set the standards to which your Armed Forces constantly aspire.

'Your own family have added to the support you bring.

'Many ships, regiments and air stations have close connections with members of the Royal Family and I have the honour to have two of your grandchildren serving with me today.

'I know I speak for all those who have the privilege to wear your uniform and hold your commission when I thank you for your dedication to our service and to our country.'

The Queen said from the grandstand: 'It is a tradition of very long standing that the Sovereign, and members of the Royal Family, are intimately associated with the Armed Forces and have been proud to serve in all three services.

'We are very proud of the selfless service, and sacrifices made by servicemen and women and their families in recent years.

'It is very gratifying to celebrate and take pride in successful achievements, but the real test of character is the ability to maintain morale and a positive spirit in bad times as well as when things are going well.'

The Queen was then given a stirring Three Cheers by the servicemen and women, who thrust their head-dresses in the air as they shouted 'Hooray!'.

Then new pieces of music written specially for the event were performed by the bands.
In Windsor town centre, onlookers spoke of their pride in the country and the Armed Forces.

Irene Dunne, who travelled from west London for the day, said: 'I think brilliant just about sums it up.

'It made me feel very proud and very excited about the Jubilee celebrations in London.

'We are going to watch the river pageant, then have a street party.'

Dee Dean, also from west London, said: "Nobody does this stuff better than the British.

'Our Marines are the best in the world.'

Patriotic: Well-wishers faced a battle to get a good view of the ceremony, with some even resorting to putting up step-ladders to take in the action

Nearly 80% 'in support' of Monarchy as popularity soars in Jubilee year

British support for the monarchy is at an all time high, according to a poll.

As the Queen tours the country to celebrate her Jubilee, a survey of 1,006 British adults showed almost eight in ten supported the monarchy.

Just 13 per cent were in favour of the country becoming a republic, the Mori poll showed.

The Midlands was shown to be the most Royalist, with 89 per cent supporting a monarchy.

Just 9 per cent of respondents from the region favoured abolishing the monarchy.
But only 76 per cent of those surveyed in the South were in favour of the monarchy, while 17 per cent said they would support a republic.

Support for the monarchy was highest among the older generation, with about nine in ten aged over 55 and the same number of over 65s saying it should remain in place.

Ninety-six per cent of Conservative voters favoured a monarch over a republic, in compared with 74 per cent of Labour supporters and 84 per cent of Liberal Democrats.

Simon Atkinson, deputy chief executive of Ipsos MORI, said: 'Support for the Royal family has always been consistently high but the Queen will enter her Jubilee celebrations with support for the monarchy running at record levels.'

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