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Queen's jubilee festivities wrap up

LONDON -- The curtain fell yesterday on a four-day extravaganza marking Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne, culminating with deafening applause from hundreds of thousands gathered outside Buckingham Palace to glimpse the monarch on her balcony.

Britons tend to reserve displays of gushing patriotism for royal or sporting events, and at times during the jubilee festivities the landscape almost morphed into a sea of Union Jacks. Millions braved rainy conditions (another tradition) to take in the largest river pageant on the Thames in 350 years, street parties, and a concert featuring the likes of Paul McCartney and Elton John.

The mood was notably dampened when Prince Philip, the queen's husband, 90, was hospitalized Monday for a bladder infection.

The indefatigable queen pressed on, accompanied yesterday by Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, in a horse-drawn carriage procession. In a broadcast to the nation last evening, the 86-year-old monarch, as popular as ever, said the outpouring of public support had "touched me deeply."

President Barack Obama sent a video tribute, extending "heartfelt congratulations of the American people," and hailing her as "a living witness to the power of our alliance, and a chief source of its resilience."

-- Washington Post, with AP

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