Joel Ryan / AP
Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 60 years on the throne with veteran rockstars and huge crowds.
Updated at 6:45 p.m. ET: LONDON - Elton John sang "I'm Still Standing," Stevie Wonder crooned "Isn't She Lovely," and Paul McCartney sent "All My Loving" as musical royalty celebrated Queen Elizabeth II's 60-year reign with a concert outside Buckingham Palace on Monday. But the joy was tempered by news that the queen's husband, Prince Philip, had been hospitalized with a bladder infection.
About 12,000 contest winners watched the live performances as part of four days of nationwide celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee marking the queen's 60 years on the throne. Members of the royal family, including Charles, his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, and Princes William and Harry sat in a royal box to watch the show. The queen wore a gold lame cocktail dress under a dark cape.
The first of more than four thousand beacons have been lit as the global celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee were stepped up. The Queen will light the final beacon from the concert stage at Buckingham Palace where Sir Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Kylie Minogue and a host of other stars will perform in her honor. Forecasters say the weather should be kinder after yesterday's downpours. ITN's Damon Green reports.
Monday’s concert also featured Ska band Madness singing 1980s hit "Our House" from the roof of the 775-room palace. The band changed the lyrics to use proper English: "Our house, in the middle of one's street."
It's official: Twitter kills the Queen's English
The veteran entertainers seemed most popular. The crowd roared along to Cliff Richard's, "Congratulations," and cheered Bassey singing — fittingly — "Diamonds are Forever." Prince Harry could be seen singing along — "Why, why why?" — as Tom Jones belted out "Delilah," while Prince William and his wife Kate joined in on John's "Crocodile Rock."
McCartney closed the concert playing "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" on a Union Jack guitar before the queen took the stage with her family.
Palace officials said the prince, who will turn 91 on Saturday, was taken to the King Edward VII Hospital in London from Windsor Castle on Monday as a precaution and will remain under observation for a few days.
As the Diamond Jubilee show ended, Prince Charles took the stage and encouraged concertgoers to make some noise for his father. The crowd responded with a roar and chants of "Philip."
The heir to the throne paid tribute to his mother, addressing her as "Your Majesty — Mummy" and leading the crowd in three cheers for the monarch.
Did the queen enjoy the music? Her musical tastes are a mystery, and she appeared to be wearing yellow ear plugs as she observed the concert, according to The Associated Press. According to The Guardian newspaper, the only song the queen has ever been known to request is "Some Enchanted Evening" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "South Pacific."
Despite the dreary weather, organizers said more than one million people gathered on the banks of the Thames to watch the 86-year-old monarch glide past in a barge decorated with flowers, with her closest family at her side.
In the flotilla were kayaks, rowboats, barges and the Motor Torpedo Boat 102 on which the Allied Forces commander, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill inspected warships before the 1944 D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied France.
Peter Jeary, NBC News
Despite heavy rain, spectators lined up from dawn on Sunday to get the best view of the River Thames flotilla.
A gloomy, gray - and great - day for the UK
All were decorated with flags and banners, making a colorful spectacle harking back to Tudor times when river pageants regularly took place for royal festivities.
Six participants in the pageant were treated in hospitals for exposure to the cold and wet, and medics attended to about 40 spectators along the river.
Her Royal Highness celebrates 60 years on the throne.
After the concert, a network of 4,000 beacons were lit across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, leading into Tuesday, the final day of the extended holiday weekend.
The small Pacific island nation of Tonga claimed the honor of lighting the first beacons. Another was scheduled to be lit in Kenya at the Treetops Hotel, where Elizabeth was informed of her father's death in 1952, making her the queen.
While more than a century separates festivities marking Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne from those honoring her predecessor Queen Victoria, surprising similarities connect the commemorations. NBC News' Jim Maceda reports.
The jubilee celebrations will conclude on Tuesday with a thanksgiving service at St Paul's Cathedral, a carriage procession along the Mall avenue, a fly past and farewell wave from the royal family to crowds gathered in front of Buckingham Palace – events that will be covered live on a special edition of NBC’s TODAY.
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The jubilee event have underlined broad support for the queen in Britain, where she is riding high in opinion polls and is seen as a symbol of service, stability and national unity.
The displays of pomp and pageantry also gave a lift to many at a time of economic austerity and spending cuts, and boosted confidence ahead of the summer Olympic Games.
BBC, via Twitter
British tabloid newspaper The Sun marked the wet festivities with this headline on Monday.
Support for the royal family is not universal however, with views ranging from indifference - around two million Britons traveled abroad to benefit from the extra days off - to outright opposition.
Queen's critics face uphill battle during jubilee
"Her achievement is just staying alive, doing little and saying less," Graham Smith, head of campaign group Republic, told Reuters on Sunday.
Queen Elizabeth II is celebrating 60 years on the throne. Watch archival footage from her childhood and ascension to the throne to the present day.
His group estimates that the royal family, which officially sets taxpayers back between 30 and 40 million pounds a year, in fact costs closer to 200 million pounds when security and travel are included.
There might be four days of celebrations in Great Britain for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, but some Londoners still have to work. NBC's Duncan Golestani finds a quick way to join in the fun.
Queen Elizabeth is only the second monarch to mark 60 years on the throne, after her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria reached the milestone in 1897. She is also on course to become the longest-serving British sovereign in 2015.
NBC News, msnbc.com's Alastair Jamieson, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.
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