Stars come out for Queen's Diamond Jubilee
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, June 4, 2012 7:53PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, June 11, 2012 6:36PM EDT
LONDON - Doreen Jarmain decided to stay in and watch Monday night's Diamond Jubilee concert from the comfort of her living room with some close friends.
Of course, her living room is in a corner of a nylon tent in the middle of the Mall and was filled with thousands of revellers here to watch a glitzy concert at Buckingham Palace for the Queen.
Still, the Burlington, Ont., woman in the red-and-white maple leaf cape will take whatever patch of grass she can get if it means a front-row seat at a milestone that's been six decades in the making.
"You're standing in our bedroom," Jarmain, 68, joked a few hours before the start of the show.
"This is where we camped last night."
As she chatted, a man wearing a hat, vest and boxer shorts emblazoned with the Union Jack ambled over to pose for a photo.
"Are you cold?" Jarmain asked the man, Dean Caston of Kent, nodding at his bare legs.
Anywhere else, such a scene might seem out of place. But it is as though all of London has come down with a case of royal fever.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was among the thousands of party-goers who took in the concert at Buckingham Palace. Thousands more squeezed into the Mall.
"These are very rare events in history," Harper said before the show. "This is a tremendous, historical event. Sixty years of service, and it's a great honour to attend and represent Canada."
Those who couldn't inch their way into the jam-packed boulevard leading up to the palace congregated in other parts of the city, such as nearby Hyde Park, where big screens showed performances by musical legends such as Stevie Wonder, Elton John and Paul McCartney.
Ska band Madness performed their 1982 hit "Our House" atop the palace roof, just as Brian May of Queen did a decade ago at the Queen's Golden Jubilee.
The jubilation was tempered, however, by news that Prince Phillip had been hospitalized with a bladder infection. This is the second time in recent months that the 90-year-old Duke of Edinburgh has spent a major event in hospital; he missed Christmas celebrations after having a heart operation.
Still, the crowd was in a festive spirit, singing along with Tom Jones, Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas and Robbie Williams.
A festive mood has gripped the city this week despite the ever-present rain clouds. Union Jacks billow from wires stretching across posh west-end shopping thoroughfare Regent Street, while bunting adorns just about every road in the city and photos of the Queen and other royal imagery are plastered prominently in storefronts.
More than a few Canadians have been spotted in the crowd.
At St. James Park, Winnipeg's June Gardner and her seven-month-old son, Charlie, were waiting for the show to begin. Gardner wore a Union Jack toque with two Canadian flags on top that looked like rabbit ears, while Charlie wore a similarly patriotic zip-up sweater.
"We've just always loved the Queen, my family," she said. "We're just big supporters of the royal family. I thought my son would never see something like this in his lifetime. ...
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime event."