Queen Elizabeth II watched as thousands of Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force troops paraded outside her Windsor Castle home Saturday to mark her Diamond Jubilee.

The parade is part of a series of events to celebrate the queen's 60-year reign, which culminate in nationwide Jubilee celebrations on a 4-day weekend beginning June 2.

On Saturday, the queen watched with her husband Prince Philip and other members of the royal family from a platform as some 2,500 troops paraded through Windsor Castle grounds and through the town to the sound of six military bands. Windsor castle, 25 miles (40 kilometers) west of London, is one of the queen's favorite residences and she looked happy as she watched the pageantry.

She then traveled along the parade route in a Bentley, waving to the crowds watching. She returned to the platform for a short prayer service led by Royal Navy chaplain Reverend Scott Brown, and a speech by the chief of defense staff, Sir David Richards, who praised the queen for her "sense of honor and pride in our country."

The queen returned the compliments. Wearing a turquoise silk, lace and sequined dress with a matching coat and a hat by designer Angela Kelly, she stood to deliver a speech, praising the country's armed forces.

"We are very proud of the selfless service and sacrifices made by servicemen and women and their families in recent years," she said.

The celebrations ended with 78 aircraft flying overhead in formation — including helicopters, Hawks, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, the Red Arrows and Tornados.