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Before the concert, 12,000 contest winners and charity workers enjoyed a jubilee concert in the palace grounds. Each received a hamper containing a meal — partly created by experimental chef Heston Blumenthal — of tea-smoked Scottish salmon, coronation chicken and strawberry crumble crunch made with fruit from the queen’s Sandringham estate.

The jubilee was being marked around the world in members of the 54-nation Commonwealth of former British colonies.

The small Pacific island nation of Tonga claimed the honor of lighting the first of more than 4,200 commemorative beacons to be set alight in Britain and abroad. The queen will light the final beacon following the concert.

One beacon will be lit in Kenya at the Treetops Hotel, where Elizabeth was informed of her father’s death in 1952, making her the queen.

After a drizzly, gray start, the weather looked up Monday, with a forecast of some sunshine by the time the concert starts. Despite threatening weather that turned to heavy downpours, more than 1 million people are estimated to have turned out Sunday to watch the 1,000-boat flotilla on the Thames.

Margaret Watson, 73, in the crowd near Buckingham Palace on Monday, remembered watching the Coronation on the television set which her family bought especially to watch the event.

“I am here to say thank you to the queen for all she has done,” said Watson, who came to London from Yorkshire in northern England with family members. “I am just so pleased to have lived through her reign.”

Others were less happy to have lived through the rain.

“I have run out of dry clothes and my sleeping bag is soaked through. My tent is ruined,” said Chris Wittington, 46, from suburban Essex county, near London. “But apart from that, it has been excellent.”

John is set to perform “Your Song,” ”I’m Still Standing” and “Crocodile Rock.” Tom Jones will pose the question, “Why? Why? Why?” in the song “Delilah,” while Annie Lennox will sing “There Must Be An Angel.”

Ska band Madness is expected to perform “Our House” on the palace roof, evoking a similar appearance at a Golden Jubilee concert 10 years ago by Brian May of Queen.

Kylie Minogue and Stevie Wonder will play a medley of greatest hits, and Paul McCartney will play “Live and Let Die,” his James Bond theme. American soprano Renee Fleming will perform with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

The 262 residents of the remote South Atlantic island of Tristan de Cunha, a British territory 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) from any other land, are combining their Jubilee beacon with some environmentally conscious gardening. They are lighting their fire with invasive species including the New Zealand Christmas Tree, loganberry and other alien plants.

“You don’t get more patriotic than saving U.K. wildlife on the queen’s Jubilee, so we decided to make the occasion by lighting a beacon made from all the plants we remove,” chief islander Ian Laverollo said.

Associated Press writer Robert Barr contributed to this report.