Queen seated in Windsor Castle for official Platinum Jubilee portrait

The celebrations of the monarch’s long reign begin on Thursday with millions preparing to honour the Queen over the four-day bank holiday weekend.

Platinum Jubilee
Platinum Jubilee

The official Platinum Jubilee portrait of the Queen has been unveiled to mark the start of the national celebrations of her milestone 70-year reign.

The monarch, 96, looks contented and happy, photographed in her Windsor Castle home, sitting on a cushioned window seat, with the historic residence’s famous Round Tower visible in the distance.

With her hands resting on her lap and her hair curled in its familiar style, the Queen is dressed in a dusky dove blue Angela Kelly coat made of wool Charmelaine.

The shiny pearl and diamante scalloped beading, embroidered around the collar and cascading down front trim, is perhaps seemingly a nod to her historic Platinum anniversary.

Platinum Jubilee
The official Platinum Jubilee portrait (Royal Household/Ranald Mackechnie/PA)

The Queen is the first British monarch to celebrate 70 years on the throne, and the commemorations get under way in full on Thursday with the traditional Trooping the Colour parade and balcony appearance.

The image was taken by photographer Ranald Mackechnie in the Victoria Vestibule in the Queen’s private apartments at Windsor.

Mr Mackechnie took two previous portraits of the Queen alongside the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George to mark her 90th birthday in 2016.

He said of being commissioned to take the official Jubilee portrait: “It is an honour to be asked and a privilege to undertake.”

Also visible in the background is the statue of King Charles II which stands in the Quadrangle of the Castle.

The seated Queen has been facing mobility problems for a number of months and has confessed to not being able to move in the past.

Royals fans gathered in central London will be hoping to see the Queen on the balcony after the Trooping parade, as well as at the service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday and possibly again on the balcony after the carnival Pageant finale on Sunday.

As well as wearing her trademark pearls, the Queen also has on her wedding and diamond engagement ring, as she usually does, and her gold watch.

The Platinum festivities are poignantly the first major Jubilee celebrations of the Queen’s reign without her late husband the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April last year.

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