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Diamond Jubilee celebrations: Queen 'touched' by 'happy atmosphere'

The queen and the royal family appear on the famous Buckingham Palace balcony for a royal wave in front of thousands of Brits who are helping the nation's monarch celebrate 60 years on the throne.

Updated at 1:06 p.m. ET: LONDON - As her jubilee celebrations drew to a close, Queen Elizabeth II said the events had been a "humbling experience," adding that she will treasure "the countless kindnesses shown to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth."

"It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbors and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere," she said in a message to the nation, according to the BBC.


Queen Elizabeth's message was broadcast across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. She also thanked the organizers for their hard work.

"It has been a massive challenge, and I am sure that everyone who has enjoyed these festive occasions realizes how much work has been involved," she said. "I hope that memories of all this year's happy events will brighten our lives for many years to come."

The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of the Queen's "very public act of dedication" when she succeeded to the throne and pledged her life to the nation. It's a phrase that sums up both the sixty years of her reign - and her determination not just to carry on with, but to enjoy today's anniversary to the full.  ITN's Tim Ewart reports on Her Majesty's day ''without Prince Philip by her side."

Crowds chanting "God save the queen" and a fanfare of trumpets welcomed the British monarch earlier on Tuesday as she arrived at a church service on the fourth and last day of celebrations marking her 60 years on the throne. 

But, even though she was surrounded by family and greeted by thousands of her subjects, without her husband Prince Philip at her side Queen Elizabeth cut a lonely figure. 

Philip, who turns 91 on Sunday, was taken to hospital with a bladder infection on Monday as millions of people turned out -- despite the cold and rain -- to honor 86-year-old British monarch. Millions more attended street parties up and down the country.

The queen's husband was expected to be visited in hospital by his youngest son, Prince Edward, Tuesday. He will be kept under observation for a few days in a move the palace said was "precautionary," but his illness took some of the gloss off what is widely seen as a triumphant jubilee that has cemented the queen's popularity in Britain. 

Thousands have traveled to London's Duke of York Steps and Trafalgar Square, hoping to catch a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth II during her royal procession. NBC's Al Roker and Stephanie Gosk report.

ITV News: The queen's lunch menu in full

Tuesday's events began with the queen, who is head of state of 16 countries, attending a thanksgiving service in her honor at London's St Paul's Cathedral along with senior members of the royal family. Prayers were said for Philip at the service.

The spiritual leader of the Anglican church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, delivered a sermon while Prime Minister David Cameron gave a reading to pay tribute to the queen who came to the throne aged 25 in 1952. 

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Her Majesty celebrates 60 years on the throne.

Afterwards the royals attended receptions at two of the City of London's grandest buildings, Mansion House and the Guildhall, before a diamond jubilee lunch at Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Houses of Parliament. 

Video: Historic St. Paul’s Cathedral prepares for Jubilee

The queen then led a carriage procession back to Buckingham Palace in a 1902 State Landau as military bands played and a 60-gun salute was fired. Charles' two sons Prince Harry and Prince William with his wife Kate followed behind in royal carriages. 

Thousands of people wait to watch the Queen address the public from the balcony of Buckingham Palace. TODAY broadcasts live from London.

The celebrations ended with the royal family making an appearance on the balcony of the palace, with a fly-past by modern and former Royal Air Force aircraft. 

A gloomy, gray - and great - day for the UK

Tuesday's pageantry followed spectacular events pitched to the queen's younger subjects, and others that evoked the queen's royal predecessors.  

On Sunday, a million people gathered for a 1,000-vessel pageant on the River Thames and hundreds of thousands more packed the wide, red road leading to Buckingham Palace on Monday for a concert. 

Diamond Jubilee: From ska to pop, stars rock Buckingham Palace

In a tribute to his mother delivered from the concert stage late on Monday, Charles sought to sum up public affection for a monarch who is a symbol of stability at a time of economic gloom and political disillusionment. 

"As a nation this is our opportunity to thank you and my father for always being there for us, for inspiring us with your selfless duty and service and for making us proud to be British, proud at a time when I know how many of our fellow countrymen are suffering such hardship and difficulties," he said.

While the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II aired on black-and-white TV sets around the globe, TODAY looks back at her legendary ceremony – with a splash of color. NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports.

The crowd responded with a roar and chants of "Philip." Prince Charles' speech was followed by the national anthem and a spectacular fireworks display in front of the sumptuous 775-room palace as it was illuminated with a giant Union Jack flag. 

'I'm Still Standing'
At the concert on Monday night, Elton John sang "I'm Still Standing," Stevie Wonder crooned "Isn't She Lovely," and Paul McCartney sent "All My Loving."

Photos: Britain honors Queen Elizabeth II with Diamond Jubilee

Despite Philip's illness, many members of the royal family, including Charles, Camilla, and Princes William and Harry sat in a royal box to watch the show, performed on a specially erected stage outside the palace. 

The queen was cheered as she arrived partway through the show, wearing a gold lame cocktail dress under a dark cape. It was decided before Philip's illness that she would watch only part of the concert. 

June 7, 1977: England marked the 25th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's ascension to the throne with pomp, circumstance and tradition. NBC's John Chancellor reports.

The queen is not a noted pop music fan, and appeared to be wearing yellow ear plugs as she observed the concert.

Some 12,000 contest winners watched the show from an enclosed area, while a huge crowd stretched down the Mall, the wide boulevard leading up to the palace.

Performers also included Cliff Richard, Tom Jones, Dame Shirley Bassey and younger artists including JLS and Kylie Minogue

NBC News' Michele Neubert, Msnbc.com's F. Brinley Bruton, Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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