Disappointing photos show what it was like to visit London over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee weekend

A photo of the royal family on the palace balcony taken by a professional photographer, left, and a photo taken by Insider’s Mikhaila Friel.Chris Jackson/Getty Images, Mikhaila Friel/Insider.

  • The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marked her 70th anniversary as monarch, took place last weekend.

  • The milestone was marked by celebratory events across London.

  • I have attended many events and found that the reality is not as it appears on social media.

On the first weekend of June, thousands of people from around the world flocked to London, UK, to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, which marked her 70th anniversary on the throne.

london map

The platinum jubilee took place in London, the capital of the United Kingdom.Google Maps/Sketches

I was in town from Wednesday June 1 through Sunday June 5 to cover Insider’s Jubilee. Although the trip was amazing, I saw another perspective that was not shown on social media or on TV.

Mikhaila on parade

Mikhaila at Trooping the ColorMikhaïla Friel/Initiate

The first event I attended was the Trooping the Color parade on June 2. The parade of royal horses, soldiers and musicians took place at Buckingham Palace Mall and was followed by an appearance by the Royal Family on the palace balcony.

The Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace watch the RAF flypast.

The Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace watch the RAF flypast.Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The parade was open to the public. Buckingham Palace Road was understandably very busy and the roads were cordoned off as people made their way to the palace.

the color parade

The walk to Buckingham Palace Shopping Center on Buckingham Palace Road.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

Hundreds of people marched through nearby St James’s Park two hours before the event was scheduled to start.

saint james park

Crowds in St James’s Park marching to the mall.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

I finally arrived at the parade route on The Mall, a street that starts at Buckingham Palace and ends at Trafalgar Square.

Parade Route Color Parade

The parade route on the Buckingham Palace Mall.Google Maps/Sketches

Some people brought stools to help them see over the massive crowds, and I wish I had thought of the idea myself.

parading the crowds of color

People stood on stools to see over the crowd.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

Others brought chairs to stay comfortable during their hours of waiting.

color parade parade

People seated in chairs on the Trooping the Color parade route.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

When the parade started at 10 a.m., some people didn’t try to see over the crowds and instead opted to sunbathe on the nearby grass.

parading the color paades

Some people weren’t even trying to see over the crowd.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

I found a spot at the end of the parade route and had a pretty clear view at the start.

Parade Route Color Parade

My vision of the parade route.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

When the royals showed up in cars, however, it was extremely difficult to see all the camera phones in the sky.

At the end of the parade, the mall barricades were removed and everyone was invited to Buckingham Palace for a flyover.

buckingham palace parades the color

My vision of Buckingham Palace.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

The royal family watched from the balcony. My view of them was partially obstructed since a stage was being built for the Platinum Party concert, which was to take place later this weekend.

balcony of the palace of the royal family

The Royal Family on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

I felt sorry for the tourists who might be seeing the palace for the very first time that day, because it was so crowded that you couldn’t even take a photo without being bombarded.

Mikhaila Friel at Buckingham Palace

Mikhaila Friel at Buckingham Palace.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

Later that evening, a lights-on ceremony took place at Buckingham Palace.

beacon lighting

Beacon lighting at Buckingham Palace.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

The palace was cordoned off and guarded by security guards since the event was not open to the public.

buckingham palace closed

The grounds of Buckingham Palace were closed to the public throughout the weekend.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

The palace was off limits for most of the weekend. Several times when I tried to stop and take a photo I was told to “keep moving” by security.

curly palace

The palace was cordoned off for most of the weekend.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

On June 3, images of the Queen were projected onto the palace. Although a spectacular sight, the palace was still partially cordoned off and you could only walk very far into The Mall before being stopped by security.

Buckingham Palace

Images of the Queen projected onto Buckingham Palace.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

On June 4, the BBC Platinum Party at the Palace took place. The concert at Buckingham Palace saw artists such as Alicia Keys and Queen and Adam Lambert take the stage.

The concert was open to those who had won tickets in a public ballot. For non-ticket holders, a small screening took place at nearby St. James’s Park.

screening of st james park

A Platinum Party screening at the Palace in St. James’ Park was obstructed by a tree.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

There was also the option to watch from The Mall. While the atmosphere was electric, it was impossible to see.

palace mall concert

Hundreds of people made their way to the Mall to catch a glimpse of the Platinum Party.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

The surrounding area was crowded with royal fans, security guards and large groups of police on duty.

buckingham palace police officers

Police at Buckingham Palace.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

And it wasn’t just the palace that was busy over the Jubilee weekend. The whole city was overcrowded.

The Ritz

The Ritz Hotel in London.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

There were long queues at the metro stations.

This was particularly the case in central London after major royal events, such as Piccadilly Circus station after the Platinum Party. I felt bad for Londoners working in the area trying to get home.

Piccadilly Circus Station

Piccadilly Circus station.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

The two things I was guaranteed to see every day were crowds of people and Union Jack flags.

London during the Queen's Jubilee weekend

London during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

Overall, the Jubilee weekend was spectacular, but it also taught me that you shouldn’t always trust what you see on TV screens or on social media.

Mikhaila at St. Paul's Cathedral in London

Mikhaila at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.Mikhaïla Friel/Initiate

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