In the United Kingdom, everything revolves around Queen Elizabeth II until Sunday. In London, numerous people had already gathered on Thursday morning to catch a glimpse of the Queen at the traditional “Trooping the Color” parade. The parade, which traditionally celebrates the Queen’s birthday in April, features around 1,200 soldiers, a number of bands and horses, and kicks off the multi-day celebrations of the Queen’s 70th jubilee this year.

At the Green Park underground station near Buckingham Palace, numerous Queen admirers with British flags and picnic baskets got off early in the morning.

Along the boulevard The Mall, which leads to Buckingham Palace, dozens of die-hards camped despite the fresh temperatures. British flags were everywhere. Some people had the “Union Jack” painted on their cheeks, others wore T-shirts with portraits of Queen Elizabeth II or masks of the 96-year-old monarch. The four-day festival is intended to bring the country together again after Brexit and the corona pandemic.

Shortly before the start of the military parade, at least four people disrupted the soldiers’ march. Three men ran onto The Mall boulevard and threw themselves on the ground in front of a military band on Thursday, TV broadcaster Sky News showed. Another man ran a few meters in front of the soldiers and held up a note. What was on it was initially unknown.

Police ran over and dragged away the troublemakers, one of whom wore a mock crown. The men were arrested. It was obvious that it was a protest by opponents of the monarchy, but the actual background was initially unclear.

Ahead of the kickoff, the royal family tweeted a message from the Queen and a new portrait taken by photographer Ranald Mackechnie. The photograph shows the Queen seated in front of a window in a room at Windsor Castle.

In her message, the Queen thanked everyone involved in organizing the anniversary celebrations. “I know that many happy memories are always made on such festive occasions,” it said.

“I continue to be inspired by the goodwill bestowed on me,” the Queen continued. “I hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to look back on the achievements of the past 70 years as we look to the future with confidence and excitement.”

More celebrations will take place over a long weekend until Sunday. A street pageant, a kind of street carnival, is planned for Sunday in London. So that people can celebrate their queen properly, there is another non-working holiday once. In addition, pubs are allowed to open much longer.

Elizabeth has been King George VI since the death of her father. Queen of Britain on 6 February 1952. She was crowned on June 2, 1953.

A few records and numbers from Elizabeth II’s reign:

To kick off the celebrations, the palace also released a video of footage from the Queen’s early years.

The Queen remains extremely popular in the country. According to polling firm Yougov, 84 percent of people in Britain believe the Queen has done a very good or good job in her 70 years on the throne. However, support for the monarchy is waning among younger people. According to a Yougov poll, support among 18- to 24-year-olds has fallen from 59 percent to 33 percent since 2011.

Pope Francis congratulated Elizabeth II on the jubilee. “I send warm greetings and good wishes, along with renewed assurances of my prayers that Almighty God bestow blessings of unity, prosperity and peace on you, the members of the royal family and all the people of the country,” wrote the head of the Catholic Church in a telegram released by the Holy See on Thursday.