Britons are preparing for four days of celebrations to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne, highlighting the monarchy's recovery in popularity since the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
The four-day Diamond Jubilee weekend starts tomorrow when the queen attends
the Derby, the highlight of the flat horse-racing season. It will culminate on June 5 with a day of pageantry including a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral in central London, when Britons will enjoy an extra public holiday.
Only one British monarch has spent longer than the current queen on the throne: Victoria, who reigned from 1837 to 1901. Her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, captured on grainy black-and-white film, is the only precedent for this weekend's events. It's just over a year since London's streets saw the last major royal event, the marriage of the queen's grandson, Prince William, to Kate Middleton. -- Eddie Buckle
Queen Elizabeth, wife of George VI, right, with Princesses Elizabeth, left, and Margaret Rose, circa 1930.