The symbolic moment on Thursday came at the end of the first day of celebrations marking the monarch's 70th year on the throne.
After acknowledging the salute of the servicemen and women who took part in Trooping the Colour, she returned to Buckingham Palace’s balcony and received the admiration of the crowds surrounded by her family as they watched the fly-past over London.
During the event, she experienced a recurrence of her “episodic mobility issues” and the palace announced her decision to cancel her appearance at the thanksgiving service for her 70-year reign, which will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday.
Before the lighting ceremony, the queen walked from Windsor Castle’s Sovereign’s Entrance into the Quadrangle, greeted by the more than 100 people who live and work in the royal residence.
Peter McGowran, chief yeoman warder from the Tower of London, then carefully placed the Commonwealth of Nations Globe on a stand that glowed purple.
The Commonwealth of Nations Globe has been kept at the tower for safety and other yeoman warders were in attendance.
After the queen touched the symbol of the world, which sat on a cushion, the purple stand turned white and a river of purple lights spread across the quadrangle before also turning white.