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Saturday, 1 June, 2002, 22:32 GMT 23:32 UK
Grand finale to Jubilee concert
Fireworks round off the night
More than 40,000 watched on widescreens outside
Thousands have enjoyed an evening of music, dance and fireworks in a lavish classical concert to celebrate the Queen's 50th year on the throne.

In the gardens of Buckingham Palace, and outside on The Mall, people came to watch a star-studded array of performers including Dame Kiri Ti Kanawa and Sir Thomas Allen.
The Queen waves to wellwishers as she arrives for the classical concert
Eighteen members of the Royal Family were present

The evening reached a climax with a surprise appearance by the Queen outside the palace to greet the 40,000 well wishers who watched the evening on widescreens outside.

It was the first concert of its kind in the grounds of Buckingham Palace which was transformed into a giant arena for the 12,000 revellers who won tickets in a national ballot.

Sound and light show

Eighteen members of the Royal Family were among the audience, including the Queen, Prince Charles and his long-term companion Camilla Parker Bowles.

She joined the 125 guests seated in the Royal Box for Prom at the Palace.
Dame Kiri Ti Kanawa performing
The opera singer also performed at Prince Charles' wedding

BBC broadcaster Michael Parkinson introduced the musical gala and said the televised concert would be seen in more than 40 countries.

Outside, 40,000 eager not to miss the show lined The Mall - waving the British flag, watching through widescreens as thousand more watched in parks across the capital.

The concert, which lasted for two hours and began at 2000 BST, took two years to prepare.

It ended with a reworked version of the national anthem greeted with a rapturous applause and a chorus of singing from the audience.

About 2 million people applied for tickets to the classical extravaganza and a pop concert on Monday.

The lucky revellers who won tickets in a national ballot to attend the performance started arriving at 1600 BST.

Each received a hamper as gift from the Queen to enjoy a picnic on her lawns.

The 'People's Party' officially begins on Monday with street parties across the country and a three-hour pop concert at Buckingham Palace.

Romanian-born soprano Angela Gheorghiu
Soprano said it was an 'honour' to perform
Performers will include Irish pop band The Corrs, ageing rocker Ozzy Osbourne and Pop Idol winner Will Young.

Younger members of the Royal Family, such as Princes William and Harry, are expected to attend.

After the concert, the Queen will go to the front of the Palace to light the last in a chain of beacons stretching round the UK and the world.

Launch new window : LONDON MAP
Click here for a detailed plan of London's celebrations

The beacon will be lit by the Millennium flame - which the Queen used to light her beacon on the River Thames on Millennium Eve in 1999 - and will set off a spectacular 15-minute show of fireworks, music and moving images.

A total of 1,956 beacons are being lit across the UK with many more in all of the Commonwealth countries.

On Tuesday there will be a state procession in the Golden Coach to St Paul's for a Thanksgiving Service.

This will be followed by parades and pageants in the Mall throughout the afternoon and a flypast by the RAF and Concorde.

The jubilee has caught the imagination of Brits keen to celebrate the long holiday.

OUtside the palace
One little girl ensures she gets a good view
Estimates from the English Tourist Council predict one third of Britons will take part in a Golden Jubilee event of some kind over the long bank holiday weekend.

For those in the capital, London Underground is providing an all-night tube service after Monday's festivities, but with restricted entry at busy stations.

The police are keeping a careful eye on the celebrations but say things have so far been very peaceful.

More than 10,000 officers will be on duty in a multi-million pound security operation.

The BBC's Helen Simms
"It was clearly a night enjoyed by all"
Clarinetist Julian Bliss
"I am just very very happy and excited to be here"

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See also:

01 Jun 02 | England
31 May 02 | Entertainment
31 May 02 | UK
23 Apr 02 | UK
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