The weekend we remembered who we were: Tens of thousands descend on Buckingham Palace at climax of Diamond Jubilee

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By Emma Reynolds

The Queen greets her subjects from the balcony of the Palace as she stands alongside Camilla, Charles, Prince William, Kate and Prince Harry

The Queen emerged on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to a deafening roar from tens of thousands of her loyal subjects who gathered below in euphoric mood for the final and most historic moment of the Diamond Jubilee today.

Flanked by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, the scene truly captured the modern face of the royals, led stoically by the Queen. The only senior member of the Firm missing was Prince Philip, who is in hospital.

The enthusiasm of the crowds, again undaunted by the rain, can be in no small part attributed to the young royals who have done so much to help a new generation fall in love with Britain’s monarchy.

Awesome sight: The Red Arrows soar over Buckingham palace and the crowds gathered along the Mall

Red, white and blue: The Red Arrows have the crowd and the Royals alike in their thrall as they perform a dazzling fly-past over the Palace

Spectacular show: The planes mark the climax of the Diamond Jubilee weekend as they soar over the heads of the Royals stood on the balcony below

Gazing upwards: The family stare and gasp in delight as the Red Arrows zoom overhead

Flying high: The nation salutes their Diamond Queen as fly-past tops off a magical weekend

History in the making: This Lancaster bomber and five Spitfires look like a scene from the past but flew over the Palace today to mark the Queen's 60-year reign

What a view! This is what the royals saw today when they looked out from Buckingham Palace balcony

Tens of thousands of Jubilee well-wishers surged along The Mall led by police on horseback in an extraordinary scene as the four-day celebrations reached their crescendo this afternoon.

Waving flags, cheering and singing with their spirits undampened by the drizzle, huge crowds made their way to Buckingham Palace to catch a glimpse of the historic moment the Queen made her balcony appearance.

If anybody was in any doubt that Britain’s love for the monarchy had waned, this national outpouring of pride would soon dispel that belief.

The Queen and her family - including William and Kate - were serenaded by a crowd of tens of thousands singing God Save the Queen

The masses converge on Buckingham Palace in a desperate bid to set their eyes on the Royal family

United in wonder: Patriotic visitors to the Mall cheer and whoop as the royals emerge

Holding back the wave: Tens of thousands pour into The Mall to watch the climax of a glorious weekend

Prince William stands beside his grandmother as Harry shares a joke with his sister-in-law

To the strains of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’, led by a military brass band, the patriotic crowd gathered in anticipation before she and the rest of the Royal Family emerged for the military fly past and feu de joie gun salute.

In a nod to the typical British weather, the masses gave a rendition of Singing In The Rain and shouts of 'We want the Queen' rang out.

And when she appeared, the Queen broke into a smile - visibly pleased - and waved as the thousands of people roared with applause, some breaking into impromptu renditions of the National Anthem.

It is only the second time that a feu de joie has been fired in Her Majesty's reign. The first was following the Queen's Birthday Parade in 2006 in celebration of her 80th birthday.

Not bad for a rainy Tuesday! Hundreds of thousands pack the Mall to see the royals and await the spectacle of a magnificent air show

Long may she rain: Crowds shrug off the drizzle armed with a flotilla of umbrellas as they crane for a look at the monarch

They then gave three cheers, with the words 'hip hip hooray' echoing down the Mall.

Next came the flypast and gun salute, but missing from the Queen's side was the Duke of Edinburgh, who she famously described as her 'strength and stay' on her golden wedding anniversary in 1997.

His absence is likely to give the day a bittersweet taste for the monarch, who carried out a series of Diamond Jubilee engagements without her consort.

As a rousing rendition of ‘God Save The Queen’ rang out the fly-past began, despite worries it may be halted by rain.

A Dakota flanked by two King Airs, a Lancaster, four Spitfires and a Hurricane from the RAF's Battle of Britain Memorial Flight hurtled through the skies, met with a broad smile of approval by the monarch.

Memorable day: People pour along The Mall and in through the back entrance to get a look at the family on the balcony

Next, the Red Arrows made a spectacular appearance tearing through the skies leaving trails of red, white and blue smoke behind.

The Diamond-nine formation, in tribute to the 60-year-reign, was greeted with rapturous applause by the throng of well-wishers outside the palace.

Finally the shots of the Feu de Joie, a celebratory cascade of rifle fire from Buckingham Palace Guard of Honour, the 1st Battalion Irish Guard, rang out followed by a rousing three cheers from the troops.

The crowd showed their approval with a round of three cheers, marking a spectacular end to a truly historic Diamond Jubilee weekend.

Earlier, the Queen's Guard had awaited her arrival at the palace forecourt in the 1902 State Landau carriage, which swept in to rapturous applause and the band of the Irish Guards playing the national anthem.

Incredible scenes: Hordes of loyal subjects gathered to honour the Queen on the final day of the bank holiday weekend

Pushing towards the Palace: The immense crowds filled The Mall as they raced to get a glimpse of Her Majesty on the historic occasion

Encircled: A thrilled mass of tourists and Londoners screamed with excitement as they united in joy at seeing the royals

The first and second divisions of the Sovereign's Escort had led the way ahead of the Queen's carriage, and as each section of the crowd saw the monarch, screams and shouts went up.

The Queen sat next to Camilla and opposite was Charles, with all three royals waving and smiling at the spectators.

In a separate carriage, William and Kate also acknowledged the crowds and appeared to be enjoying the moment, with Harry sitting in front of them, chatting happily.

The procession had travelled down Whitehall past Downing Street and the Cenotaph and into Trafalgar Square, packed with well-wishers. When they reached The Mall, thousands cheered them as the royals waved.

Overhead were huge Union flags and the crowds stretched back into St James's Park waving their smaller Union flags and shouting.

The procession finally reached the Palace forecourt and disappeared out of view through an arch into the quadrangle.

Diamond Queen: Onlookers expressed an outpouring of love for the monarch with banners and flags