Why frail Queen will not miss out on the climax of her reign

Ministry of Defence handout photo of the Red Arrows above Buckingham Palace in London during the fly

The Red Arrows above Buckingham Palace in London during the flypast to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012 - similar scenes are expected when the monarch celebrates her Platinum Jubilee in a few weeks' time - Credit: Cpl Lynny Cash RAF/PA

Jets roar overhead, while the streets are packed with cheering crowds amid a sea of red, white and blue flags in a familiar spectacle.

But this time, what has become a time-honoured touchpoint between royalty and the rest of us will be charged with far more emotion than the usual outpouring of national pride.

For when she lifts her frail hand to wave from the balcony of Buckingham Palace on Sunday, June 5, Elizabeth II will mark the climax of her 70-year reign.

As hundreds of thousands packed into The Mall sing God Save the Queen, the National Anthem will herald a pivotal point for our nation.

It is unthinkable that a monarch in her twilight years, who has been our figurehead through good times and bad will not be there to see what will almost certainly be the last major occasion of her reign.

The scene from the roof of Buckingham Palace as crowds gather to watch the Jubilee Flypast of 27 air

The scene from the roof of Buckingham Palace as crowds gather to watch the Jubilee Flypast on June 4, , 2002 to mark the Queen's Golden Jubilee - Credit: Chris Ison/PA

A finale like no other is being promised for the Jubilee Pageant, which will celebrate 70 years of British life.

It is doubtful whether any future king or queen will rule as long as Elizabeth II, who became Queen at the age of 25 after her father King George VI died in his sleep at Sandringham. 

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As well as a time to look back over seven decades which have seen incredible changes to almost every aspect of our lives, it will also be a time for us all to look ahead.

The Queen is the only monarch most of us have ever known. Her passing will plunge us into a period of deep mourning, a collective grief not only for Elizabeth II, but for the era she epitomised and the stamp she placed on our national consciousness.

Less certain times may well lie ahead than at almost any point during his mother's reign, as King Charles III accedes to the throne.

Queen Elizabeth II cuts a cake to celebrate the start of the Platinum Jubilee during a reception in

Queen Elizabeth II cuts a cake to celebrate the start of the Platinum Jubilee during a reception at Sandringham on February 5 - Credit: Joe GIddens/PA

Despite claims she would abdicate, the Queen looks set to fulfil the promise she made in a speech to the Commonwealth on her 21st birthday, in 1947, when she pledged: "I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong."

Fast forward 75 years and when aides confirmed that she would be missing the royal garden party season, the news was unsurprisingly met with more speculation about the state of the Queen's health.

The head of state, who has mobility issues, has missed a number of major events over the last few months, including the Remembrance Day wreath laying at the Cenotaph.

She is 96 years old, after all and has been using a walking stick in public since she attended a service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion last October.

She reached her Platinum Jubilee in February, overcame a bout of Covid after testing positive that month, and celebrated her birthday privately on April 21 at Wolferton, on her Sandringham estate.

Queen Elizabeth II receives a posy from Harriet Reeve, 9, during a reception in the Ballroom of Sand

Queen Elizabeth II receives a posy from Harriet Reeve, 9, during a reception in the ballroom of Sandringham House to celebrate the start of her Platinum Jubilee year - Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

The Queen spent a night in hospital in October, before spending the next three months under doctors' orders to only conduct light duties and missed a number of prominent events.

Speculation is mounting over whether the Queen will attend the State Opening of Parliament on Tuesday which could see her represented by the Prince of Wales.

Prince Charles has been described as  the likely candidate to read the Queen's speech which sets out the Government's policies and proposed legislation for the new parliamentary session.

Queen Elizabeth II before she delivers a speech from the throne in House of Lords at the Palace of W

The Queen at the state opening of Parliament in 2021 - there is doubt over whether she will attend this year's ceremony on Tuesday - Credit: PA

Buckingham Palace has said the monarch plans to deliver her address at the national event, but her attendance will be confirmed on the day.

If she does not attend, it will be only the third time she has missed what is seen as one of the more important Royal occasions of the year.  

Whether she does so or not, the Platinum Jubilee weekend is just four weeks away. It seems inconceivable that she might miss out on the last great milestone of her reign.