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Queen, Prince William light Jubilee beacons in UK in old tradition

The prinicipal beacons commemorating the Queen's Jubilee have been lit up in the UK, sparking a wave of similar ceremonies around the country.

Prince William held the torch to light up a 21-metre high sculpture of a tree in London, marking 70 years of Queen Elizabeth's time on the throne.

The Queen lit up another herself at Windsor Castle.

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The beacon lighting is an old tradition for royal weddings, coronations and other celebrations in the UK, dating back to the ancient and medieval beacon chains that were used to communicate across the country.

Now, they symbolise the unity of the UK and the Commonwealth.

In 1897, beacons were lit to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

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Queen Elizabeth Platinum JubileeQueen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee

Until 2015, Victoria was the UK's longest-reigning monarch.

In 1977, 2002 and 2012, beacons commemorated the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees of Queen Elizabeth, and in 2016 her 90th birthday.

About 1500 community beacons are being lit across the UK, with counties and towns coming together for the ceremonies.

And in all capital cities of the 54 Commonwealth countries – including Canberra – beacons burned as well, lit up with royal purple.

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Queen Elizabeth Platinum JubileeQueen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee

Canberra was one of the first to hold the ceremony, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese recalling Queen Elizabeth's long association with Australia throughout her 70-year reign.

"Sydney was a young city, and a young queen stood here, full of promise and full of purpose," he said.

Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee

"As we mark this Jubilee, we can say that she fulfilled that purpose. Her Majesty has amply kept her promises.

"Hers continues to be a life of unswerving loyalty unfailing dignity, grace under pressure, a warm welcome for every person she met."

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