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Crowning Moment

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On the Buckingham Palace balcony to mark her Diamond Jubilee on June 5, Queen Elizabeth was her usual perfectly composed self, waving to the cheering crowd of more than one million spectators, chatting with her son and grandson, Prince Charles and Prince William, and even flashing a few toothy grins. But as the 86-year-old monarch basked in the roar of affection, she did so without the love of her life by her side: Prince Philip had been hospitalized a day earlier for a bladder infection. Her Majesty was “upset” that the ailing duke, who turns 91 on June 10, couldn’t be with her, a palace source tells People. Not that she showed it. After all, this is a woman whose stoicism has never wavered throughout six decades on the throne-a tenure matched only by Queen Victoria, who reigned for 63 years and 7 months. Elizabeth “made a speech when she was 21 that she was going to devote her life to the nation, and she has kept that vow to the letter,” says the Hon. Mrs. Margaret Rhodes, the Queen’s first cousin. During the epic four-day Jubilee celebration, locals and visitors alike were treated to a spectacular June 3 flotilla display on the River Thames and a star-studded concert on June 4, followed by a service at St. Paul’s Cathedral the next day. For the Queen herself, it was an opportunity to feel the love-and to be at peace about the next generation of royals. Says former royal press secretary Colleen Harris: “She feels that she is leaving the monarchy in good hands.”