On a most British of days – right down to the weather – more than a million people line the Thames to pay tribute to the Queen on her Diamond Jubilee.
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant reached its end as a world record-beating 1,000-strong flotilla passed under Tower Bridge.
The belfry carrying The Royal Jubilee Bells was the first vessel through, followed by the million-pound row barge Gloriana led by Olympic gold medallists Sir Matthew Pinsent and Sir Steve Redgrave, rowing with 16 others.
A 41-gun salute was fired from the Tower of London to celebrate the Queen’s 60 years on the throne while thousands of people cheered on the banks of the River Thames despite the wet weather.
And by around 5pm, 419 boats had reached Tower Bridge in London – setting a new world record for the number of boats taking part in a parade. The event easily surpassed the previous record of 327 boats in Bremerhaven, Germany, last year.
The first impressive vessel to greet spectators was the Gloriana, the £1m row barge which led the manpowered section. It was rowed by 18 oarsmen and women.
Havengore, the vessel that carried Sir Winston Churchill’s coffin during his state funeral in 1965, is being used in the pageant by the Duke of York and his daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
The Princesses could be seen frantically waving to the crowds as they set off with their father standing close by. The Princess Royal and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, both in naval uniforms, were on the Trinity House no 1 boat.
Conditions remained dry for the start of the impressive event when the royal barge, The Spirit of Chartwell, carrying the Queen senior members of the Royal family took its place in the flotilla close to Albert Bridge.
The Queen was escorted down the river by the 1,000-strong flotilla to mark 60 years of her reign in an event that promised to be the most spectacular nautical ceremony in London for the past 350 years.
On the sumptuously decorated barge she was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, 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 Bennett.
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.