Britain Celebrates Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee With 1000-Strong Flotilla

Braving a day of bone-chilling, rain-dampened weather, a crowd estimated by police at more than a million people lined the banks of the Thames on Sunday to acclaim Queen Elizabeth II as she marked 60 years on the throne with a royal river pageant of a kind last seen 350 years ago.

The stirring flotilla of 1,000 boats, highlight of a four-day holiday to celebrate the monarch’s diamond jubilee, combined with the familiar miseries of the British climate to produce a vignette that some embraced as a demonstration in minor key of the character of her reign: steadfast determination.

The monarch, who is 86, and her husband, Prince Philip, 90, never donned coats through the hours they spent on the open deck of the royal barge as it made its way down the seven-mile course of the pageant, waving at crowds shouting “God save the queen” and hoisting a forest of plastic Union Jacks. Neither did they sit in the thronelike red velvet chairs set in the prow, apparently reluctant to claim a luxury not available to the onlookers.

With a TV audience of tens of millions at home and abroad, commentators called it the greatest public spectacle of the queen’s reign. The flotilla was richly varied. A barge with pealing bells led off, followed by an array of “man-powered” craft, single-seat kayaks, dragon boats, Maori war canoes and jumbo Venetian gondolas. They were followed by 40 of the small boats that participated in the evacuation of 340,000 British and French soldiers from Dunkirk, France, in 1940, ahead of an armada of “working boats” that included tugs, fireboats and 19th-century steamboats.

Britain’s only other diamond jubilee for a monarch was relatively recent. In 1897, Elizabeth’s great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria, then 78, achieved the landmark. But Victoria was frail and reclusive then, and sent her son, the future Edward VII, to represent her at a review of a fleet of British warships at Spithead on the English Channel coast.

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Source: The New York Times

Image: The Daily Mail

Queen Elizabeth II Celebrates Diamond Jubilee

The Queen has said she is dedicating herself “anew to your service”, as she marks the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne. In a message, she also said she felt “deeply moved” by the support shown for her Diamond Jubilee. It will be marked by several events, with the main celebrations in June.

The Queen, 85, usually spends Accession Day – the day her father, George VI, died in 1952 – privately but this year has two engagements in Norfolk. This year’s anniversary will be marked by visits to King’s Lynn Town Hall and the nearby Dersingham Infant and Nursery School. Crowds are expected to gather to greet the Queen, despite the cold weather.

During her reign, Queen Elizabeth II has seen 11 UK prime ministers come and go, with David Cameron her 12th. Mr Cameron praised the “magnificent service” given by the Queen and called her a “source of wisdom and continuity. With experience, dignity and quiet authority she has guided and united our nation and the Commonwealth over six varied decades,” he said.

The Diamond Jubilee Miniature Sheet marks the first occasion on which official images of the monarch, sourced from stamps, coins and banknotes, have been brought together for a stamp issue.

Other members of the Royal Family will visit the 15 other countries where the Queen is head of state, as well as some other Commonwealth countries.

Source: BBC News

Image: People Magazine