Britain's Queen Elizabeth has released a message through Buckingham Palace as commemorations for the 70th anniversary of her accession to the throne get underway.
"Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth. I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions," the Queen said in a statement.
"I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm," Her Majesty added.
The 96-year-old monarch also released a specially commissioned Platinum Jubilee portrait to mark the start of the festivities. Taken by Ranald Mackechnie, the photograph shows the Queen sitting in the Victoria Vestibule at Windsor Castle last Wednesday. In the background, the castle's Round Tower and a statue of King Charles II, which stands in the famous quadrangle, can be seen.
She is wearing one of her signature Angela Kelly ensembles in a light blue, and it is embellished with pearl and diamante trim around the neckline and cascading down the front of the coat.
It's the third portrait Mackechnie has taken of the sovereign. A first portrait, published in 2016, celebrated Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, and a second published in 2020 marked the beginning of the new decade.