WINDSOR, United Kingdom (AFP)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth watched a glittering pageant Sunday of
hundreds of horses and over 1,000 performers from around the
world, the first big celebration for her diamond jubilee.
On the show's final night, after three other performances
attended by royals, the queen and her husband Prince Philip
watched a special version with stars including singer Susan Boyle
and Australian entertainer Rolf Harris.
The equine pageant is close to the queen's heart: she was given
her first pony at age four and remains a keen rider, as well as
an owner and breeder of racehorses.
In tribute to the queen's more than 250 Commonwealth and state
visits, some 550 horses and 1,200 performers from 17 countries
performed against the backdrop of a 45-metre (148-foot) replica
of Buckingham Palace.
Troupes from India's Dancing Marwaris to the Chilean Huasos
displayed their mettle in a rare gathering of global horsemanship
to mark the monarch's 60 years on the throne.
Italy's Carousel of the Carabinieri re-enacted an 1848 battle in
a whirl of feathers and swords, before riders from Russia's
Kremlin Riding School formed a human pyramid on galloping mounts
in a daredevil show of horseback acrobatics.
Between horseback performances were bursts of song and dance,
among them a didgeridoo performance, a Maori haka, Inuit
throat-singers and a mariachi band.
Scottish singer Boyle, 51, who shot to fame in 2009 through a TV
talent show, sang Paul McCartney's hit "Mull of Kintyre".
The 86-year-old queen's own racehorses staged a mock race, and
her Household Cavalry joined all the performers in a grand finale
recreating her coronation.
The jubilee began with the February anniversary of the queen's
father's death, spent in low-key engagements.
But in March she received a rock-star welcome as she began a
jubilee tour of Britain, while younger members of her family are
touring the world to mark the event.
In Britain, the pageant will be followed by a four-day public
holiday on June 2-5, with celebrations including a festival of
1,000 boats on the River Thames, the lighting of more than 2,000
beacons and a service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral.