The Queen was caught in mid-air drama today as a thunderstorm forced her private jet to abort its landing in London and circle over the capital for 15 minutes.
Her 13-seater jet attempted to land at RAF Northolt, north west London, before the pilot pulled the plane back into the air and began circling the area.
It took off from Aberdeen after 1pm during a downpour, and arrived in London to an electrical storm, rain and hail.
As the weather cleared, the pilot then made a second, successful landing.
Buckingham Palace confirmed that Her Majesty’s flight had an aborted landing due to lightning, but said that there were no safety concerns for the monarch.
The 96-year-old monarch was seen giving a wave to a group of children as she rolled up to Windsor Castle in a dark-green Range Rover – with her faithful friend in the back seat
Her Majesty’s 13-seater jet attempted to land at RAF Northolt, North West London, before the pilot pulled the plane back into the air and began circling the area
Buckingham Palace confirmed that Her Majesty’s flight had an aborted landing due to lightning, but said that there were no safety concerns for the monarch. Pictured, the jet today
‘In circumstances like this you take no risks and it was right to abort landing during lightning strikes,’ an insider told The Sun.
The Queen had been returning from Balmoral, where she stayed for five nights before the week of her Platinum Jubilee.
She was driven from the Scottish estate’s Craigowan Lodge to the airport, where she boarded the 86ft jet, sat in a hangar for privacy.
It had been due to land an hour and a half later in RAF Northolt, but instead circled above the city for 15 minutes, after being told to ‘go around’ as the storm progressed, the news site reported.
After a safe landing, the monarch was spotted arriving back at Windsor from Balmoral today, with her beloved corgi by her side, as she prepares to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
The Queen has today been spotted arriving back at Windsor from Balmoral – with her beloved corgi in tow – as she prepares to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee celebrations
The Queen has spent the last few days at her Scottish home, Balmoral. She has been at the estate – said to be one of her favourite places – since Thursday for a private visit. It is usual for Her Majesty to visit Scotland at this time of year
The 96-year-old monarch was earlier photographed arriving at Aberdeen Airport this afternoon ahead of a flight back to the capital
The 96-year-old was pictured giving a wave to a group of children as she rolled up to Windsor Castle in a dark green Range Rover, her canine companion sitting on the back seat.
The Queen – who is preparing to mark her 70th year on the throne – has spent the last few days at her Scottish home.
She has been at the estate – said to be one of her favourite places – since Thursday for a private visit. It is usual for Her Majesty to visit Scotland at this time of year.
It comes as royal superfans have already begun camping out to get a prime spot on The Mall for the Jubilee despite the start of the celebrations with Trooping the Colour not taking place for another two days.
The four-day celebrations will start on Thursday with a special Trooping of the Colour, followed by a service of Thanksgiving on Friday.
The Epsom Derby, a particular favourite of the Queen’s, will take place on Saturday – though the Queen is reportedly ‘unlikely to attend’ at this stage in order to ‘pace herself’ for the rest of the weekend.
A special Jubilee Pageant will then take place on Sunday through the streets of London to wrap up the four-day celebrations.
In a surprise twist, the Queen could also meet her great-granddaughter Lillibet for the first time on Saturday – when she turns one – with Harry and Meghan jetting into London from California to take part in the four-day celebrations.
However the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, along with Prince Andrew, will not appear on the Royal Balcony when the Queen is set to delight royal fans by making an appearance during Trooping the Colour.
She will instead be flanked by her other three children, including her eldest son, Prince Charles, and his wife Camilla, as well as grandson Prince William and wife Kate, along with their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Additionally, the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Kent, Princess Alexandra, and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence will appear.
The Gold State coach travels during an early morning rehearsal today ahead of Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Early this morning the Service Personnel went through their movements, from the pavements of Birdcage Walk, Whitehall as they conduct a final Early Morning Rehearsal through London for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, which will mark the finale of HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend
Right royal welcome for her Majesty: Union Jacks line The Mall towards Buckingham Palace ahead of the Queen’s arrival for the Platinum Jubilee celebrations, which begin on Thursday.
John Loughrey poses with a carboard cut-out of the Queen on The Mall in London today ahead of the four-day weekend (right), while (left) Donna Werner (at the rear), 70, from Connecticut, flew in from the US on Saturday for the celebrations and has now set up a tent on the Mall with British friend Mary-Jane Willows (at the front), from Penzance, Cornwall
Royal superfans John Loughrey and Maria Scott, who are often seen at the front of crowds at major royal events, waved for the cameras from their tents on The Mall in London today as anticipation builds ahead of the four-day bank holiday weekend
People pose for a group photograph as they stand on The Mall backdropped by Buckingham Palace in the distance, as the road is lined with British flags and closed to traffic ahead of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee
A man sells merchandise outside a shop near Windsor Castle ahead of celebrations for the Platinum Jubilee this weekend
People sit in a restaurant outside Windsor Castle, as it is decorated with Platinum Jubilee posters and bunting
John Loughrey and Maria Scott, who are often seen at the front of crowds at major royal events, waved for the cameras from their tents this morning as anticipation builds ahead of the four-day bank holiday weekend.
And the Queen’s Gold State Coach was seen on the streets of London for the first time in 20 years today as members of the Armed Forces carried out a final rehearsal for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant early this morning.
Personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force marched through London from 4.30am as they made final preparations for the event on Sunday which will mark the finale of the four-day weekend.
Troops carrying flags of Commonwealth nations were seen marching down The Mall, while members of the Household Cavalry were photographed in Parliament Square as they prepared for the huge parade.
The Gold State Coach is making its first appearance in 20 years, with moving images of the Queen in 1953 on her Coronation Day set to be played in its windows, making it seem as though the young monarch is riding inside.
The intricately gilded 260-year-old carriage, which is only ever allowed to carry the sovereign, will lead the procession to the sounds of the bells of Westminster Abbey chiming as they did on the day she was anointed.
Using state-of-the-art technology, archive footage of the 27-year-old Queen waving on June 2, 1953, will be beamed on to the remodelled windows of the carriage in a demonstration of how she will be there in spirit.
It is hoped the 96-year-old monarch will appear on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the Pageant to see a musical finale of Ed Sheeran singing the national anthem with a choir made up of nearly 200 celebrities.
Also today, it emerged that the Palace has asked Pageant planners to avoid ‘over-glorifying or over-egging’ the Queen and her family or involving anything that seems ‘too aggrandising’, in consideration of anti-royalists.
Service personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force take part in an early morning rehearsal in London today
The Gold State Coach is seen during a final early morning rehearsal through London today for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Troops of the Household Cavalry on The Mall today during an early morning rehearsal for Sunday’s Pageant
Harry and Meghan will ‘keep it simple’ to avoid overshadowing Queen on her Jubilee: Sussexes WILL go to St Paul’s service but WON’T plan own events after travelling to UK with ‘limited’ security team
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle plan to ‘keep it simple’ during their visit to England for the Platinum Jubilee weekend and avoid carrying out any of their own engagements, sources claimed today.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will fly without any senior staff, only come with a small security team and leave their most trusted staff back home in California, according to people with knowledge of their travel plans.
The couple will stay at their Windsor home of Frogmore Cottage along with their two children Archie and Lilibet – who celebrates her first birthday on Saturday – but will be without any senior staff, the sources told ITV News.
Harry and Meghan are expected to attend the Service of Thanksgiving with the Queen at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday morning – as well as the BBC’s Party at the Palace the following evening, the report claimed.
But the sources added that the Sussexes will not conduct their own programme of events while in Britain to avoid overshadowing the four-day weekend of celebrations for the 70-year reign of Harry’s 96-year-old grandmother.
Meanwhile, Meghan’s half-sister Samantha Markle said ‘the door is wide open’ for her to privately reconnect with their father Thomas Markle if she wants to, adding that he is ‘rebounding remarkably well’ after suffering a stroke.
Speaking about their 77-year-old father, Samantha, 57, told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘He loves all of us and he’s been bashed in the media for always speaking out to extend an olive branch to reach out to her. He is her father so he has a right to reach out to her. He has been very honest and open in those feelings and the door is wide open.
‘She’s always had his phone number – it hasn’t changed – and his address, so any suggestion that she doesn’t know how to get hold of him and that she wanted to be private is somewhat ridiculous on the grounds that, if you want to reach out to your father privately, you know how to do it.’
In addition, Meghan’s estranged half-brother Thomas Markle Jr told GB News last night that she needed to ‘show some support for your dad’ who is in hospital in San Diego, California – having initially planned to visit London and attend the Jubilee celebrations.
Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, who stepped down as senior royals more than two years ago, are due to arrive in the UK any day now along with Archie and Lilibet after receiving an invitation from the Queen.
Although they have been barred from joining the Royal Family on the Buckingham Palace balcony on Thursday following Trooping the Colour, they are expected to attend the St Paul’s service and Palace pop concert.
Sources have suggested they are likely to bring Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland, with her and stay at Frogmore Cottage, on which they are reported to have taken another year’s lease after making clear they intended to keep it on for the foreseeable future.
The home was where the couple spent their final period as working royals before moving to north America, and last month they extended the lease on a 12-month rolling arrangement, The Sun newspaper reported.
Frogmore, a Grade-II listed property owned by the Crown Estate, was a gift from Harry’s grandmother the Queen and is reportedly being used by Princess Eugenie and her husband who are said to be out of the country.
Director David Zolkwer said the pageant was intended to ‘not take itself quite so seriously’ and that republicans would be considered alongside ‘strident royalists’ amid concerns ‘the word pageant brings a lot of baggage’.
He said royal aides wanted to avoid making the day just about the Queen, telling the Radio Times: ‘The feedback we’re getting is that if we’re over-glorifying, or over-egging, or if anything looks too aggrandising – that’s what they’re not comfortable with.
‘What they’re doing is ensuring that every reference to the Queen is appropriate.’
A royal source confirmed to the Daily Telegraph that this was the intention, saying that the Queen and other members of the Royal Family wanted to ensure the Jubilee was a chance for the monarch to ‘thank the public’.
The Gold State Coach, which was built in 1762 and is the third oldest coach in the UK, will be taken outside the Royal Mews for the first time since the Golden Jubilee.
It is made of giltwood – a thin layer of gold leaf over wood.
The coach is 23 feet long and 12 feet tall, and weighs four tons.
Because of its weight and suspension, it is only ever used at a walking pace – and it is said to be the most uncomfortable carriage the Queen owns.
Drawn by eight Windsor Grey horses, it will be led by the Mounted Band of the Household Cavalry, heralding a riotous celebration of the Queen’s life, her favourite things and the diversity of her reign.
Adrian Evans, the Pageant Master, said: ‘Everywhere you look, in the golden sculptures and painted panels, in the uniforms of the postilions, grooms, footmen, attendants and mounted guards, there is rich tradition and history.
‘It will be a unique spectacle that we are privileged to be opening the Pageant with.
‘It will set the tone for the very many spectacular sights to come.’
The elaborate coach features above each wheel a massive triton figure in gilded walnut wood to represent the spreading of the news of good government.
The main body is carved to represent palm trees framing the doors and windows.
It features paintings of Roman gods and goddesses representing human skill and endeavour.
These include the arts, sciences, virtue, security, and the harvest goddess Ceres setting light to weapons in a sign of peace and prosperity overcoming war.
The front panel includes a figure of Britannia sitting on the banks of the Thames in London, with the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral just visible.
On the roof is a giltwood carving of the British imperial crown being held by three putti, or cherubs, representing England, Scotland and Ireland.
Some 205 vehicles will appear as part of the parade, including 11 Morris Minors, seven Land Rovers, 20 vintage Minis including one in the shape of an Outspan Orange and seven original James Bond vehicles.
Ice cream vans, JCBs, Del-Boy’s Only Fools And Horses three-wheeled Reliant Regal Supervan III, 15 Sinclair C5s, and seven open-top double-decker buses decorated in images of the decade they represent will also head down The Mall and past the palace.
Set to be watched by up to a billion people across the globe, more than 10,000 people have been involved in staging the £15million event which will process through the streets in four acts, as the finale of the weekend.
Close to 200 national treasures will take to the stage to serenade the Queen by singing the national anthem at the grand finale of the Platinum Jubilee festivities.
Stars including Sir David Jason, Harry Redknapp, Sir Cliff Richard, Sandie Shaw, Felicity Kendal, Joe Wicks and Holly Willoughby will join Ed Sheeran in a mass rendition of God Save The Queen outside Buckingham Palace at the end of the pageant on Sunday.
The monarch is expected to appear on the balcony – the second of her planned appearances on the famous frontage over the weekend – to bring the national commemorations to a close.
Mounted troops pass the Palace of Westminster today during a rehearsal for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant
Troops march on The Mall today during an early morning rehearsal today for Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant
A military bandsman plays the bagpipes during a rehearsal this morning for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant
The Gold State Coach passes the Houses of Parliament during an early morning rehearsal in London today
Mounted troops form up this morning as they prepare to take part in a rehearsal for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant
Soldiers march during a rehearsal for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant which took place in London this morning
Troops march on The Mall today during an early morning rehearsal today for the Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant
The Gold State coach in London today during an early morning rehearsal for Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Royal Air Force personnel march during a rehearsal this morning for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee pageant
Troops of the Household Cavalry on The Mall today during an early morning rehearsal for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant
The Gold State Coach is seen during an early morning rehearsal ahead of Sunday’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant
Troops of the Household Cavalry on The Mall today during an early morning rehearsal for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant