instagram envelope_alt facebook twitter search youtube_play whatsapp remove external_link loop2 arrow-down2

Queen and family watch as 100 RAF aircraft take part in awe-inspiring centenary display over London

The old guard: Aircraft from World War II fly in formation, and a DC3 Dakota (below) PICTURES: JULIE EDWARDS/AVALON/REX

A FLYPAST of 100 RAF aircraft thundered over the London sky yesterday in a thrilling centrepiece to the force’s centenary celebrations.

Thousands of spectators gathered as the Queen and members of the royal family watched the biggest display of military aircraft in recent memory from the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Puma and Chinook helicopters began the spectacle, followed by aircraft including a Lancaster, Spitfires, Hurricanes, Tornados and three F-35 stealth fighter jets.

In their biggest ever formation, 22 Typhoon jets spelt out the number ‘100’ before the spectacle drew to a close with the Red Arrows, who streamed red, white and blue smoke down The Mall. Her Majesty, the RAF’s Air Commodore-in-Chief, presented the Queen’s Colour to the RAF in the forecourt of the palace.

Royal stare force: The Queen, Meghan, Harry, William and Kate watch on the balcony – while Charlotte and George are kept indoors (below) PICTURES: GETTY/WENN

She recalled how her father, King George VI, was the first member of her family to qualify as an RAF pilot. ‘Presenting the Royal Air Force with a new Queen’s Colour provides an opportunity to congratulate the service for your remarkable contribution to defence over the last 100 years,’ she said.

‘Tenacity, skill and gallantry have been your hallmarks as you helped safeguard freedom and security in many parts of the world. I remember the Battle of Britain being fought over the skies above us and we shall never forget the courage and sacrifice of that time.’

Supersonic spectacle: Thousands watch as F35-B Lightning II jets roar overhead PICTURE: CPL TIM LAURENCE

She also took the Royal Salute as the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex watched.

Charles, William and Harry wore RAF uniforms while Kate sported a Dacre Brooch presented to her by the Air Cadets when she took on patronage in 2015. Meghan wore a Dior dress and hat by royal milliner Stephen Jones.

Ace day out: Spectators young and old throng The Mall to witness the amazing flypast PICTURE: PA

Princess Charlotte threatened to steal the show when she was spotted apparently saluting the flypast. The three-year-old, who watched from a window of the palace with her older brother George, was also photographed sticking out her tongue.

Earlier, the royals and more than 2,200 people packed Westminster Abbey for a service also attended by Theresa May, defence secretary Gavin Williamson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Count on us: Typhoon FGR4s fly in formation to create the number 100