Festivities for Queen Elizabeth's birthday to end with street party

A weekend of celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday was set to end Sunday with a massive street party in central London.

Some 10,000 people were to gather on The Mall, near Buckingham Palace, for the Patron's Lunch, named for the monarch's patronage of hundreds of charities.

Most of the tickets were allocated to the 600 charities and other groups supported by the queen, but some 2,000 tickets were sold for 150 pounds (about 214 dollars) each through a public ballot.

Retailer Marks and Spencer was providing a hamper for each guest, containing a 250ml can of Pimm's aperitif, smoked salmon, chicken roulade, potato salad, sandwiches, cheese, apple juice, a mini pork pie, butterfly cakes and a raspberry dessert.

Cakes modelled on hats worn by the queen were among Marks and Spencer's spin-off products to mark the birthday.

Two of the queen's grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry, were to attend the street party as co-presidents of the Patron's Lunch, while a third grandson, Peter Phillips, is the main organizer.

Britain's longest-serving monarch celebrated her real birthday on April 21.

The weekend of celebrations for her official birthday kicked off on Friday with a national service of tribute at London's St Paul's Cathedral.

Broadcaster and wildlife presenter David Attenborough, who is also 90, read from a tribute by another 90-year-old, Michael Bond, author of Paddington Bear, who like the queen also celebrates two birthdays each year.

Prime Minister David Cameron read from the Bible, while opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and former prime ministers John Major and Tony Blair were among the other politicians who attended the service.

On Saturday, more than 1,000 soldiers took part in a ceremonial military parade in London.

The queen rode in an open carriage from Buckingham Palace for the traditional Trooping the Colour ceremony.

Dating back to the 18th century, the event takes it name from a ceremony to hand over the Colour, a regimental flag, and parade it through ranks of troops.

Born in 1926, the queen has ruled since 1952, when she was 25 years old. In September, she surpassed the six-decade reign of Queen Victoria, her great-great grandmother, who sat on the throne from 1837 to 1901.

Britain's system of constitutional monarchy keeps the queen as a largely ceremonial head of state, allowing the government to pass legislation and run the country.

Last update: Sun, 12/06/2016 - 14:32
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