LONDON - Saying she was touched and humbled by “countless kindnesses’’ shown to her, Queen Elizabeth II wound up a spectacular and closely scripted four-day celebration of her 60 years as monarch Tuesday, seeming buoyed by a remarkable outpouring of support likely to cement her family’s place in British society for years to come.
With her 90-year-old husband, Prince Philip, hospitalized and suffering from what royal officials called a bladder infection, the queen completed the extravaganza with a rare broadcast to the nation, in which she said: “The events that I have attended to mark my diamond jubilee have been a humbling experience.’’
“It has touched me deeply to see so many thousands of families, neighbors, and friends celebrating together in such a happy atmosphere,’’ she said in the prerecorded address lasting less than two minutes.
“I hope that the memories of this year’s happy events will continue to brighten our lives for many years to come. I will continue to treasure and draw inspiration from the countless kindnesses shown to me in this country and throughout the Commonwealth,’’ she said, referring to the organization made up primarily of former British colonies of which she is formally the head.
Apart from an annual message at Christmas, such broadcasts are rare.
One of the most portentous came in 1997 when the queen paid what some Britons saw as a belated tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, after her death in a car crash in Paris.
At that time, Britons’ support for the monarchy ebbed, but the public response to the Jubilee over the past four days has appeared to show the extent of the royal recovery.
The celebrations, marked by public holidays to give Britons a four-day break beginning last weekend, spanned a dramatic pageant of 1,000 vessels on the river Thames winding through London on Sunday, an open-air concert outside Buckingham Palace on Monday, and a day of reverence and pageantry Tuesday.
The tight choreography of the event went off-script only with the hospitalization of Prince Philip, forcing him to miss events at which he would normally have taken his usual deferential position at the queen’s side.
The prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, was taken to a hospital Monday, a day after spending several hours in the biting cold atop a royal barge during the pageant Sunday.
Royal officials said Monday that the prince’s condition was “being assessed and treated,’’ and that he would remain in the hospital for observation for a few days.
On Tuesday, the Earl of Wessex, the youngest son of Prince Philip and Elizabeth, visited him in hospital and told reporters he was “getting better.’’
The Countess of Wessex added: “He’s in good spirits; he’s on good form.’’
In Prince Philip’s absence, the queen attended events either alone or with close family members. Riding in an open carriage through central London, with crowds lining the streets, for instance, the 86-year-old monarch was accompanied by her eldest son, Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, and his second wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.
Behind them, in a cavalcade of 160 horses ridden by guards in ceremonial uniform, came a newer generation in a second open carriage represented by Prince William; his wife, the former Kate Middleton, who is now the Duchess of Cambridge; and Prince Harry.
The princes were born during Charles’s first marriage to Princess Diana.
In the finale to the Jubilee, hundreds of thousands of people crammed into The Mall, the broad and stately avenue leading from Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace, lofting union flags and bright umbrellas against a spattering of showers to await the queen’s appearance on the palace’s central balcony.
A military band played patriotic songs evocative of a time predating the unraveling of imperial power during Elizabeth’s reign - “Land of Hope and Glory’’ and “Rule Britannia.’’
Overhead, a World War II Lancaster bomber escorted by fighter planes of a similar vintage roared by in a flyby that included the Royal Air Force display team, the Red Arrows.
In the throng of people celebrating two day of public holiday flowing on from the weekend, a spectator held up a cardboard periscope for a better view, emblazoned with the words: “Thanks for the day off.’’
In a sermon at St. Paul’s Cathedral attended by the queen Tuesday, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, inveighed against what he called “the traps of ludicrous financial greed, of environmental recklessness, of collective fear of strangers, and collective contempt for the unsuccessful and marginal - and many more things that we see far too much of, around us and within us.’’
But, referring to the queen, he said, “We are marking today the anniversary of one historic and very public act of dedication - a dedication that has endured faithfully, calmly, and generously through most of the adult lives of most of us here. We are marking six decades of living proof that public service is possible, and that it is a place where happiness can be found.’’