London: London echoed to the sound of cannon shots on Monday to mark Queen Elizabeth II´s 70 years on the throne, beginning a year of celebrations to honour Britain´s longest-serving monarch.
At midday (1200 GMT), the King´s Troop Royal Horse Artillery unit fired a 41-gun salute from Green Park, near the monarch´s Buckingham Palace residence in central London.
Another 62 shots then rang out an hour later from the Tower of London, the historic royal palace and home to the Crown Jewels three miles (4.8 kilometres) across the city.
The ceremonies took place the day after “Accession Day”, the date in 1952 when Princess Elizabeth´s father king George VI died and she became queen.
“For me this is the launch of the Platinum Jubilee, this is where it all starts for all of us and as a country,” said Lieutenant Colonel James Shaw, who oversees the army´s ceremonial events.
“On June 2 we´ve got the Queen´s Birthday Parade, with 1,400 troops involved in that, and on June 5 there´s the pageant and the armed forces will also be involved,” he added.
The Green Park salute consisted of the usual 21-gun salute with an extra 20 due to it being in a royal park. There were another 21 shots at the Tower of London event as it is in the City of London.