Chronicle reporter JO HENWOOD was lucky enough to be invited to spend the bank holiday weekend rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in London...Related content
THE sun is still high in the sky as I arrive at Buckingham Palace to take my seat with the 10,000 lucky loyal subjects who have won ballot tickets to attend the star-studded Diamond Jubilee concert, masterminded by our county’s own Gary Barlow.
I know that the former Frodsham High School pupil has sold millions of records worldwide and won numerous awards for his song-writing skills but I bet his nerves were a-jangling as fellow Take That singer Robbie Williams took to the spectacular nautically-themed stage around the Queen Victoria Memorial to open the show that had been 60 years in the making.
As suspected, Robbie and the Bands of the Guards division didn’t disappoint with a rousing rendition of Let Me Entertain You.
The sun was still shining when Alfie Boe raised the tone with O Sole Mio and Welsh legend Tom Jones belted out Mama Told Me Not to Come, backed by Little Sutton singer Elsie.
And it was a real celebration of six decades of music from around the world.
From where I was sitting, stage right, I had a bird’s eye view of the stars making their way to the stage - Dame Shirley gliding, Sir Cliff skipping and Will.i.am waiting patiently for his big moment.
TV viewers would have missed Cheryl Cole’s beautiful fishtailed black and cream evening gown hampering her ascent of the steps after her duet with Sir (oops, not yet) Gary - just proving how difficult life on land can be for mermaids.
Her Majesty the Queen missed Sir Tom’s Delilah singalong as she arrived halfway through the concert to join members of her family and invited guests in the royal box.
One guest unable to attend of course was Prince Philip, who had been taken to hospital that day with a bladder infection and it was quite moving when the crowd at the palace and the throngs on The Mall and in St James’s Park chanted ‘Philip, Philip, Philip’.
Now I have heard the Jubilee anthem by Messrs Barlow and Lloyd Webber on the radio and I confess to being ambivalent. Yet, the massed choir of the Military Wives, the African Children’s Choir, The Slum Drummers, Kenya’s Ayub Ogada and indigenous Australian Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu live on that stage was a triumph - a real celebration of Queen and country and the Commonwealth.
I was in London with my family for the Bank Holiday weekend and our Union Jacks are now well and truly worn and wet.
We waved them along the Thames, at Tower Bridge, in St James’s Park, along the Mall and below the Buckingham Palace balcony.
As jubilees go, this one was diamond.
For more coverag on the Diamond Jubilee see Thursday's Chester Chronicle.