Disappointing photos show what it was like to visit London during 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 from 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 with celebratory events across London.

  • I attended many of the events, and found that the reality was not how it appears on social media.

On the first weekend of June, thousands of people from across 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 the UK’s capital city London.Google Maps/Skitch

I was in the city from Wednesday, June 1 until Sunday, June 5 to cover the Jubilee for Insider. While the trip was amazing, I saw another perspective that wasn’t shown on social media or on TV.

Mikhaila at trooping

Mikhaila at Trooping the ColorMikhaila Friel/Insider

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

The royal family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace watching the RAF flypast.

The royal family on the balcony at Buckingham Palace watching the RAF flypast.Chris Jackson/Getty Images

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

trooping the color

The walk to the Buckingham Palace Mall on Buckingham Palace Road.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

Hundreds of people made their way through the nearby St James’s Park two hours before the event was scheduled to begin.

st james's park

The crowd at St James’s Park walking to The Mall.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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

parade road trooping the color

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

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

trooping the color crowds

People stood on stools to see over the crowds.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

Others brought chairs to keep comfortable during their hours-long wait.

trooping the color parade

People sitting on chairs on the Trooping the Color parade route.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

When the parade began at 10 am, some people didn’t attempt to see over the crowds and instead opted to sunbathe on the nearby grass.

trooping the color paades

Some people didn’t even try to see over the crowds.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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

parade road trooping the color

My view of the parade route.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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

When the parade ended, the barricades on The Mall were removed and everyone was invited to Buckingham Palace to watch a flyover.

buckingham palace trooping the color

My view of Buckingham Palace.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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

royal family palace balcony

The royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

I felt sorry for tourists who might have been seeing the palace for the very first time that day, as it was so busy that you couldn’t even take a picture without being photo bombed.

Mikhaila Friel at Buckingham Palace

Mikhaila Friel at Buckingham Palace.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

Later that evening, there was a beacon lighting ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

beacon lighting

The beacon lighting at Buckingham Palace.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

The palace was cordoned off and manned by security guards since the event wasn’t open to the public.

buckingham palace closed

The Buckingham Palace grounds were closed to the public throughout the weekend.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

The palace was off-limits for most of the weekend. On several occasions when I tried to stop and take a photo, I was urged to “keep moving” by security.

palace cordoned off

The palace was cordoned off for most of the weekend.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

On June 3, images of the Queen were projected onto the palace. While this was a spectacular sight, the palace was still partly cordoned off and you could only walk so far down The Mall before being stopped by security.

Buckingham Palace

Images of the Queen projected on to Buckingham Palace.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

On June 4, the BBC Platinum Party at the Palace took place. The concert at Buckingham Palace saw performers 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 the nearby St. James’s Park.

st james's park screening

A screening of the Platinum Party at the Palace at St. James’ Park was obstructed by a tree.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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 took to The Mall to catch a glimpse of the Platinum party.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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

police officer buckingham palace

Police officers at Buckingham Palace.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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

The Ritz

The Ritz hotel in London.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

There were wide lines at the underground 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 who worked in the area trying to make their way home.

Piccadilly Circus station

Piccadilly Circus station.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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

London during the Queen's Jubilee weekend

London during the Queen’s Jubilee weekend.Mikhaila Friel/Insider

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

Mikhaila at St Paul's Cathedral in London

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

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