Part of complete coverage on
Spitfires and parade mark Queen's Diamond Jubilee
updated 10:05 AM EDT, Fri June 1, 2012
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip watch the flypast in Windsor on Saturday.
- 78 aircraft take part in a dramatic flypast above Windsor Castle
- Some 2,500 members of the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force march past the Queen
- The Queen is taking part in celebrations to mark her 60 years on the throne
London (CNN) -- Thousands of members of the British Armed Forces took part in a parade and flypast at Windsor Castle Saturday as part of celebrations to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years on the throne.
World War II era Spitfires and Lancaster bombers, helicopters and Tornado fighters were among the 78 aircraft to soar overhead as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tribute.
Questionable guests for Jubilee Lunch?
Princes on TV: 'Don't mess' with queen
The flypast also featured Hawks flying in a formation to represent the Queen's initials and Tucanos flying in a "60" formation for the length of her reign.
On the ground, some 2,500 military personnel from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force paraded past the Queen, who was colorfully dressed in blue, in a specially built arena in the castle grounds.
Speaking at the event, Gen. Sir David Richards, Chief of the Defence Staff, said the three branches of the Armed Forces took great pride in marking the jubilee.
"The Queen's deep interest and commitment to the Armed Forces has touched many Servicemen and women and their families over the past 60 years," he said.
"I know I speak for all those who have the privilege to wear her uniform, when I offer my heartfelt thanks to Her Majesty for her dedication to the Armed Forces, and to our country."
The Queen was joined in the audience by Prince Philip and other members of the British royal family, as well as more than 3,000 military personnel, veterans and their families.
Monarchs from Denmark, Brunei, Lesotho, Norway, Sweden, Swaziland and Tonga were among a number of foreign royals to attend.
The military parade and flypast are the first major national event to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, the Ministry of Defence said.
The central weekend of celebrations comes in early June, when the Queen will take part in concerts and a pageant involving more than 1,000 boats on the River Thames.
The Queen hosted a lunch on Friday at Windsor Castle to which every monarch in the world was invited, also as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall also hosted a dinner at Buckingham Palace on Friday evening for some of the royals.
Human rights campaigners criticized the decision to include monarchs of countries with a poor record on human rights in Friday's events.
Among those they highlighted were the king of Bahrain, whose government has come under fire for its handling of continuing unrest, and Swaziland's King Mswati III, accused by critics of enjoying a lavish lifestyle at public expense while his people suffer great poverty.
Have you met the Queen or British Royals? Share your story or photos on iReport!
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:03 PM EDT, Tue June 5, 2012
Diamond Jubilee celebrations reached a colorful climax Tuesday as the queen appeared on the balcony of Buckingham Palace.
updated 7:59 PM EDT, Tue June 12, 2012
Her outfits don't send fashion watchers into a frenzy like those of the Duchess of Cambridge, but the queen has her own signature style.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Tue June 5, 2012
Buckingham Palace transformed into a rock venue on Monday as some of the biggest names in music celebrated the diamond jubilee.
updated 9:34 AM EDT, Wed June 20, 2012
Who is your favorite Royal? What is your message to the Queen? Londoners report for CNN!
updated 5:37 AM EDT, Mon June 4, 2012
Celebrate the queen's Diamond Jubilee with this specially-created CNN jigsaw puzzle of royal pictures.
updated 8:41 PM EDT, Wed August 15, 2012
The longest serving consort, the Duke of Edinburgh has been a constant companion at the queen's side for over 60 years.
updated 6:25 AM EDT, Tue June 5, 2012
The Thames became a sea of red, white and blue Sunday, as tens of thousands celebrated the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.
updated 6:07 AM EDT, Tue June 5, 2012
Excitement is building for what are expected to be jubilant festivities to mark Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne.
updated 1:52 PM EDT, Sun June 3, 2012
CNN iReport celebrates the British monarchy ahead of the Diamond Jubilee this weekend from June 2-5.
updated 6:24 AM EDT, Tue June 5, 2012
When Queen Elizabeth II takes to the Thames it won't be the first time the royals have made merry on the river.
updated 7:43 AM EDT, Sat June 2, 2012
Our world today is almost unrecognizable compared with 1952, the year Queen Elizabeth took her coronation oath.
From the amount of letters she has received during her reign to the distance she has traveled, we take a quirky look at the Queen's life in numbers.
updated 6:32 AM EDT, Tue June 5, 2012
The queen's diamond jubilee celebrations show how proud Britons are to have Elizabeth as their head of state.
2012 marks the 60th year in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. CNN will be in London celebrating with the British royal family. Follow the coverage of this majestic event with CNN.