At high water in the afternoon of Sunday 3 June 2012, up to a thousand boats muster on the River Thames England in preparation for Her Majesty The Queen to lead the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. It will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river. Rowed boats and working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Jacks, their crews and passengers turned out in their finest rigs. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services are all afloat and there are an exuberance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats of note.
The flotilla is bolstered with passenger boats carrying up to thirty thousand flag-waving members of the public placed centre stage (or rather mid-river) in this floating celebration of Her Majesty’s sixty year reign. The spectacle is further enhanced with music barges, boats spouting geysers and pyrotechnic barges spitting smoke and daytime fireworks. And there will be specially constructed elements like a floating belfry, its chiming bells answered by those from riverbank churches.
The opening ceremony of London’s Olympic Games is just six weeks away and the public that crowd the riverbanks and bridges gives a rousing reception to the many boats that have travelled from far and wide to represent UK port cities, the Commonwealth countries and other international interests. Downriver of London Bridge, there is a gun salute and the flotilla passes through a spectacular avenue of sail made by traditional Thames sailing boats, oyster smacks, square riggers, naval vessels and other impressive ships.
Thames piers, riverside roads and bridges are closed to traffic and there are up to fifty big screens distributed along the route to allow members of the public to enjoy the pageant from all possible vantage points. For families and others with children, Battersea Park is a destination area with a day-long programme of music, traditional funfair and artist-led Jubilee-themed entertainment.
The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant celebrates Her Majesty’s sixty years of service by magnificently bringing the Thames to life; making it joyously full with boats, resounding with clanging bells, tooting horns and sounding whistles; recalling both its royal heritage and its heyday as a working, bustling river.
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