Elton John sang I’m Still Standing, Stevie Wonder crooned Isn’t She Lovely and Paul McCartney sent All My Loving as musical royalty celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s 60-year reign with a concert outside Buckingham Palace on Monday. However, the joy was tempered by news that the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, had been hospitalized with a bladder infection.
Palace officials said the prince, who will turn 91 on Saturday, was taken to the King Edward VII Hospital in London from Windsor Castle on Monday as a precaution and would remain under observation for a few days.
As the Diamond Jubilee show ended, Prince Charles took the stage and encouraged concertgoers to make some noise for his father. The crowd responded with a roar and chants of “Philip.”
The heir to the throne paid tribute to his mother, addressing her as “Your Majesty — Mummy” and leading the crowd in three cheers for the monarch.
Despite Philip’s illness, many members of the royal family, including Charles, his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Prince William and Prince 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.
The queen is not a noted pop music fan and appeared to be wearing yellow ear plugs as she observed the concert.
About 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.
The lineup featured a full hand of knights — McCartney, John, Cliff Richard and Tom Jones, all “Sirs” — along with Dame Shirley Bassey and younger artists including JLS and Kylie Minogue.
The show opened in a blaze of sound and color, as a scarlet-clad military band joined Robbie Williams onstage for his hit Let Me Entertain You. Black Eyed Peas star Will.i.am performed I Gotta Feeling with songstress Jessie J.
In true something-for-everyone mode, performances ranged from pianist Lang Lang (郎朗) playing Gershwin to US soprano Renee Fleming to 64-year-old Grace Jones hula-hooping her way through Slave to the Rhythm.
Performers from around the world sang a special jubilee song written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Take That’s Gary Barlow.
It was the veteran entertainers who went down best. The crowd roared along to Cliff Richard’s Congratulations and cheered Bassey singing Diamonds are Forever. Prince Harry could be seen singing along — “Why, why why?” — as Tom Jones belted out Delilah, while Prince William and his wife Catherine joined in on John’s Crocodile Rock.
Ska band Madness performed 1980s hit Our House on the palace roof, changing the lyrics to “Our house, in the middle of one’s street.”
The queen may not like to rock’n’roll, but she has plenty of fans among rock’s elite.
Before the show, Elton John paid tribute to the monarch’s constancy.
“She’s not trendy, she doesn’t follow any fads,” John told the BBC. “She’s stoic, she’s brilliant, she’s wise, she’s funny and we’re all really happy to be here.”
McCartney closed the concert playing Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da on a Union Jack guitar before the queen took the stage with her family.
At the end of the concert, the queen lit the last in a chain of more than 4,200 commemorative beacons that have been set alight in Britain and abroad.