- Thousands camped overnight to get the best view of the Queen to mark her 60 years of reign
- The 1,000-strong flotilla promises to be the most spectacular nautical event in London for the past 350 years
- London Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing ‘Singing in the Rain’ as they travel down the river
09:49, 3 June 2012
11:48, 3 June 2012
Thousands of people braved wind and rain and camped overnight on the banks of the Thames to ensure they have the best view of the Queen as she cruises past on a royal barge.
Her Majesty will be escorted by a 1,000-strong flotilla to mark 60 years of her reign in an event which promises to be the most spectacular nautical event in London for the past 350 years.
Many who chose to camp said they had braved the plummeting temperatures because of their love for the Royal family.
Scroll down to watch the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant live
Fans of the Royal Family wait beneath an umbrella in the rain near Tower Bridge ahead of the river pageant
Two women brave the cold and wait on the banks of the River Thames so they can watch the 1,000-strong flotilla to start later today
Bunny Henderson comes prepared for the dreary weather and is determined not to let it ruin her day
Royal revellers wait in the rain on the South Bank of the River Thames for the start of the Diamond Jubilee
Jubilant crowds gather ahead of the Jubilee celebrations taking place in London today. The Queen will be escorted along the river on The Spirit of Chartwell
Union Jack adorned tents were a favourite among those who spent the night camped along the banks of the Thames
People have also been gathering along the seven-mile course of the river
pageant since first thing this morning and wrapped up warm against the cold weather.
Karen Chen, 32 and David Ip, 31, from Streatham, south London, said the
rain had not put them off coming to the river early to get a prime spot. ‘We got here just after 7.30 [this morning], it would have been earlier if we thought we would have more competition. The rain actually works to our advantage,’ Ms Chen said.
The pair have bagged a prime spot on a bench next to Battersea Bridge and said they were ready for the long-haul.
‘We are wrapped up warmly and have waterproof sheets to shelter under.
We have got a picnic of marmalade and cheese and pickle sandwiches and
Mr Kipling cakes,’ Mr Ip added.
‘Today is a spectacular event, nothing would have stopped us from coming
to see the boats. We are so excited about all the variety. It will only
happen once in our lifetime and we will be here until the very end,’ Ms
Organisers also remain upbeat despite rain and drizzle being forecast for most of the day, with Pageant Master Adrian Evans declaring preparations were in hand.
‘There is some rain around, but it has not dampened any spirits,’ said Mr Evans. ‘We in Britain are experts at not letting the weather spoil our fun. The London Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing Singing In The Rain as they travel down the river, and the crowd can sing along with them.
‘We are all set to have one of the most spectacular pieces of river theatre that London, and the world, has ever seen. Excitement is building, and everything is ready.’
A group of women who camped overnight celebrate as they wait for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations to start
Eager revellers come prepared for the dreary weather to watch the Queen as she marks 60 years of her reign
A woman huddles under her umbrella as the rain comes down in London
Union Jack bunting surrounds the tents lined up on the banks of the Thames as eager people get the best spot to see the Queen
Forecasters have predicted that
temperatures in the capital will reach a maximum of 12C and it will be
cloudy and cool with occasional rain. Other parts of the country will
also experience showers and it will be cloudy and cool in most parts of
Linda McCaw from Cheshire waits in the rain with her Union Jack adorned umbrella and coat
more Britons are refusing to let the weather dampen their spirits and
will take part in Jubilee parties, outdoor concerts and fairs across the
The water-borne extravaganza will be
one of the highlights of the four-day Diamond Jubilee weekend with
organisers hoping to recreate scenes not seen since the reign of Charles
Every conceivable vessel will be
afloat on the Thames from kayaks, skiffs, Dunkirk little ships and
dragon boats to tugs, barges, rowed shallops and passenger vessels.
At its head will be a floating belfry with each bell named after a senior member of the Royal Family.
The Queen and
Duke of Edinburgh will be joined on The Spirit of Chartwell by the
Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall as well as the Duke and Duchess
of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
The boat has been described as a vessel ‘fit for a queen’ and has been decorated with nearly 10,000 flowers and was donated for use at the event by owner Philip Morrell and
transformed in a project led by award-winning production designer Joseph
Lavishly decorated with replica
carvings and sporting a majestic red, gold and purple colour scheme, the
vessel’s design will echo the richly decorated royal barges of the 17th
and 18th centuries.
It now sports an ornate, gilded prow
sculpture featuring Old Father Thames, a pair of scaly, sharp-toothed
classical dolphins – a symbol of the Thames – and the royal cipher at
A lavish, red, velvet banner decorated with a version of the
royal coat-of-arms made from more than half a million gold-coloured
buttons hangs from the stern.
The Queen and Duke will be seated on the vessel’s top deck in ornate chairs under a gold-coloured canopy.
The 64 metre-long cruiser has a top
speed of 11 knots, will have rich red drapes decorating its sides and
its bow will display the Queen’s cipher, EIIR, below a crown with golden
floral displays around it.
It has a luxury interior designed to
evoke the grandeur of the 1929 Cote d’Azur Pullman railway carriages,
complete with artefacts from the original train and great ocean liners.
Flowers from the Queen’s gardens will
adorn the barge and take as their theme the Commonwealth, the Queen’s
1953 Coronation and the Gold State Coach.
Gardeners’ World horticulturist Rachel de Thame created the floral displays which have a red, gold and purple colour scheme.
Mist and rain shrouds Tower Bridge and the former Royal Navy cruiser HMS Belfast on the Thames on Sunday morning
The water-borne extravaganza features a
flotilla of 1,000 ships, boats, yachts and other vessels, expected to
be seven and a half miles-long.
Organisers hope to recreate scenes not seen on the river for more than 300 years, since the reign of Charles II.
Chelsea pensioners will make up a
Guard of Honour for the Queen, Philip, Charles and Camilla at Chelsea
Pier, and a tender will take them to nearby Cadogan Pier where the royal
barge will be moored with William, Kate and Harry waiting onboard.
Havengore, the vessel that carried Sir
Winston Churchill’s coffin during his state funeral in 1965, will be
used in the pageant by the Duke of York and his daughters Princess
Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Duke
and Duchess of Gloucester and Prince and Princess Michael of Kent.
The Princess Royal and her husband,
Vice-Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, will travel on the Trinity House No 1
Boat while the Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra will be aboard the
RNLB Diamond Jubilee.
Prime Minister David Cameron will
also take part in the celebrations and will join his staff and guests
for a party in Downing Street.
event is part of the Big Jubilee Lunch – which will see thousands of
neighbourly meals being staged across the country in honour of the
Queen’s 60-year reign.
Speaking about the Queen and the Monarchy on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show he said he believed there would be less stability in Britain if the Royal family did not exist.
‘I think one of the great things that a monarch brings, and particularly
a Royal Family and Her Majesty the Queen personally brings, is this
sense of national unity and stability, someone who the whole country can
identify with,’ he said.
‘It doesn’t matter whether people are Labour or Conservative or Liberal Democrat or can’t bear any politicians. There’s at the head of state someone who the whole country can revere
and look up to, a great symbol of national unity, of continuity, that
links British people with our institutions, with our history, with our
relations with other countries, with the Commonwealth.
‘All of those things help to anchor us, so I think it’s a great source of strength and stability, both now and into the future.’
He also quashed the idea of the Queen abdicating in favour of her
grandson the Duke of Cambridge: ‘It’s hard to think of ever her putting a
And you get the sense with her that she will go on doing
the amazing job she’s done for this country as long as she possibly can
and you never see any sign of her devotion getting any less.’
A workman adds the final touches to the Royal Barge Gloriana in Richmond, London, ahead of today’s celebrations
The Spirit of Chartwell barge will carry the Queen and members of the Royal family during the celebrations
Tall ships are moored along the River Thames ahead of Sunday’s river pageant which will see 1,000 boats take part
The Gloriana, left, will be taking part in the river pageant and, right, boats sail down the Thames to a holding position near Hammersmith
street outside the official London home of the prime minister will
also host charities, who have a royal patron or are supporters of the
director of the Big Jubilee Lunch, said: ‘We’re thrilled Downing Street
is hosting this lunch for people who are active in bringing communities
together, which is what the Big Lunch is all about.’
branches of the Scout Association, Girlguiding UK, Age UK and Contact
the Elderly will join the staff from Downing street, and the party
atmosphere will be created with games, music and face painting.
Duchess of Cornwall is patron of the event, led by the Eden Project,
which aims to encourage neighbourhoods to come together to share lunch
and a few hours of community, friendship and fun.
event stems from the Big Lunch movement, which started in 2009 and
which last year saw almost two million people get together in their
people across all 54 Commonwealth countries are being encouraged to
hold their own Big Jubilee Lunch events as part of the celebrations.
Almost six million Britons plan to throw a house party this weekend for the Diamond Jubilee, a study has suggested.
12 per cent of people plan to hold celebrations at home to mark the
Queen’s 60-year reign, spending £83 each on average, amounting to £424
million spent across the country on food, drink and decorations,
Santander Insurance found.
Thousands of people walk along The Mall which is closed to traffic and decked with Union flags for the Diamond Jubilee weekend
Britons across the country, left in London, and right, in Cheshire, have been getting into the spirit to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee this weekend
How the flotilla will be spread over the Thames. Scroll down for an explanation of what’s in each of the groups numbered one to ten
BRITONS EMBRACE THE SPIRIT AS SALES FOR JUBILEE INSPIRED GOODS SOAR
Sales for Jubilee inspired products have soared
What’s red and white and blue all over? In Britain this weekend, everything.
As the country celebrates Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne, retailers are embracing the jubilee spirit, doing a roaring trade in tricolor British flags, bunting and party supplies.
‘Anything with a Union Jack on it is selling like hot cakes,’ said Matt Compton, party goods buyer for the Tesco supermarket chain. ‘This is the biggest week we have had since the Millennium in terms of party sales, with demand far exceeding sales (during) last year’s royal wedding.’
The patriotic outpouring stems from a mix of affection for the 86-year-old queen and delight at a four-day holiday weekend, granted for the second royal Diamond Jubilee in British history.
Only Queen Victoria, Elizabeth’s great-great grandmother, ruled for longer than the current monarch. Hundreds of thousands of people planned picnics or street parties for today as the Queen’s royal barge leads a 1,000-boat jubilee flotilla.
The weather report calls for cool temperatures and rain, but stores have all but sold out of Pimms, the gin-based liqueur that – mixed with fruit and fizzy lemonade – is England’s archetypal summer drink. Supermarket chain Waitrose said sales of Pimms are up by more than 260 percent compared to last year.
It is a welcome boost for struggling retailers as The Bank of England warned that the extra holidays will hit economic output, but some stores, at least, have reason to celebrate.
Food and clothing chain Marks and Spencer said it had sold more than 200,000 jubilee teacakes, 50,000 commemorative cookie tins and 31 miles of bunting.
Gift shops and departments stores are stocked with souvenirs that range from classy to kitschy, and from cheap to cheekily expensive.
The Royal Collection is offering an official Diamond Jubilee tea blend, £8.95 pounds and a cake at £14.95, from a recipe by Fiona Cairns, who baked Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding cake. Don’t forget the cake stand – yours for £395.
It would not be a British occasion without a touch of the eccentric, irreverent and even downright tacky.
House and garden supply chain BQ says it has sold 3,100 jubilee garden gnomes – pointy-headed lawn ornaments styled on the queen and her husband, Prince Philip.
An online sex toy retailer is offering – to put it delicately – glittering royal adornments for the nether regions.
And enterprising English designer Lydia Leith, who had a cult hit last year with her custom-made royal wedding sick bags, has designed a series of temporary tattoos of corgis, crowns and carriages, as well as a jelly mold in the shape of the queen’s head.
‘It’s not meant to be offensive in any way. It’s just meant to be fun,’ said Leith, who will be selling her wares at a jubilee festival in London’s Battersea Park on Sunday.
‘There’s something for everyone. If you don’t like the royal family you can buy a sick bag. If you do, you can buy a tattoo.’
VIDEO: The weather won’t dampen our spirits! Watch the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant LIVE…
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“.not many more people will be willing to get wet for this expensive farce.” – Sarah, Birmingham, I agree entirely. The country is in economic dire straits with many worrying whether or not they are going to continue in employment and this total waste of money is lauded for the world to see. The sycophantic comments about antediluvian aristocracy abound with all the concomitant economic nonsense about them attracting visitors who pay for their upkeep. I have two talented post-graduate mathematics students who are finding it virtually impossible to obtain meaningful employment and who will probably have to leave this country to pursue meaningful careers. Somebody made a comment about the British “doing this kind of thing so well” – that’s certainly valid – arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic is an epithet that springs to mind. I shall no doubt be bombarded with illiterate irrational jingoistic tirades – unfortunately they don’t change reality and fortunately don’t affect me !
Have you noticed that it’s mostly WOMEN who are willing to ‘camp out’ in this awful weather to catch a glimpse of one of the wealthiest people in the world
When the weather is fine
You know it’s a sign
For messing about on the river
If the weather is bad
Your all bleedin’ mad
For hanging about by the river…
Almost six million Britons plan to throw a house party this weekend for the Diamond Jubilee, a study has suggested…………………………………………….That means that the other almost sixty five million will not………………………………………………More pointless statistics talking up an event that like the Olympics we cannot afford.
How sad, get a life! Remember to tug your forelock as that distant figure sails past. Praise this privileged family of fellow humans who ‘rule’ over us, WHY?!
– Dan, Christchurch, UK, 3/6/2012 11:04======== I am not sad and I have a life thanks very much. I do not tug my forelock but respect someone in authority who does her job properly, honestly and deferentially. I understand the concept of humility and strive to emulate those who serve their country. I wish I had an ounce of Her Majesty’s decorum and sense of purpose. Being respectful is not fawning, try to learn the difference.
Rupublicans and other clever school children put your axes/pens away for one day!
The nations in the world with most stability, prosperity and with the broadest personal freedoms are Monarchies.NOT Republics.
To all of you in London I hope the rain clears so you all have a magic day ..I am looking forward to seeing some of the highlights here in Aussie especially the boats on the times
I don’t understand why god would let it rain over his monarch, the leader he choose to rule us all? Maybe we didn’t celebrate hard enough which angered him?
The Queen lives in an Air-conditioned world ……………whilst YOU MUGS stand in the COLD and RAIN !!!
“And we laugh at the North Koreans. – David, Slough”. Oh come, come, Dave in Slough. You know that’s a silly thing to say. 🙂 I’m not a monarchist personally but I can see that millions are *freely choosing* to celebrate what they see as their royal family. There are the historical and heritage elements too, and the straightforward pageantry. why begrudge people their pleasure and their views? You surely aren’t suggesting that the crowds are being forced to go to the Thames with threats of violence or imprisonment?
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