Like all good things, it finally came to an end on Tuesday. Britain's longest party in living memory concluded with a ceremonial royal carriage procession through central London to mark the finale of the Queen's four-day diamond jubilee celebrations. The festivities went ahead despite the absence of the Queen's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was taken ill on Monday and admitted to hospital with a minor bladder infection.

Hundreds of people, who had lined up along the route of the procession waving replicas of the Union Jack, cheered as the open-topped coach carrying the Queen, Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, wound its way to Buckingham Palace past some of London's most famous landmarks. Many who had been waiting since early morning complained that the procession went past too fast and they could not take photographs. Some were far too behind in the crowd even to catch a glimpse of the Queen.

Later, flanked by Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, his wife Kate, and Prince Harry, she appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and greeted the crowds outside. People whistled, blew kisses, sang songs and television presenters went berserk as the Queen emerged on the balcony. A special flypast was held to signal the end of the celebrations.

The day began with a thanksgiving service at St. Paul's Cathedral conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams who praised her for her “lifelong dedication”.

Prime Minister David Cameron, his Ministers, diplomats and foreign leaders, including representatives from Commonwealth countries, attended the service.

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