The official platinum jubilee portrait of Queen Elizabeth II has been unveiled to mark the start of the British celebrations of her 70-year reign.
The monarch, 96, looks contented sitting on a cushioned window seat in her Windsor Castle home, 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 the front trim, is perhaps a nod to her historic platinum anniversary.
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 seated queen, the first British monarch to celebrate 70 years on the throne, has had mobility problems for a number of months. She has even confessed to being not able to move in the past.
The image was taken by photographer Ranald Mackechnie in the Victoria Vestibule in the queen’s private apartments at Windsor.
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.
“It is an honour to be asked and a privilege to undertake,” he said of the latest portrait.
Also visible in the background is the statue of King Charles II, which stands in the quadrangle of Windsor Castle.
The queen has thanked the nation on the eve of her historic platinum jubilee celebrations.
In a special message released as millions across the country prepare to gather in her honour during four days of tributes and street parties, she said “many happy memories” would be formed during the festivities.
The nation’s longest-reigning monarch said she hoped the jubilee weekend would provide an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the past 70 years.
The message comes at the start of the extended bank holiday weekend, with millions across the UK and Commonwealth joining in celebration.
The queen's upbeat words come as the country and the world tries to recover from the impact of the devastating coronavirus pandemic.
“Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours and friends to mark my platinum jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth," she said.
“I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions.
“I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last 70 years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm.”
It was signed Elizabeth R.
The platinum jubilee commemorations begin on Thursday with the traditional Trooping the Colour parade.
Royals fans in central London will be hoping to see the queen on the Buckingham Palace balcony after the parade, and at the service of thanksgiving in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday.
The monarch may again appear on the palace balcony after the carnival Pageant finale on Sunday.
Millions of people across the UK are set to take to the streets for parties and lunches in honour of the queen.
The festivities will be the first major jubilee celebrations of the queen’s reign without her late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April last year.