Diamond Jubilee celebrations on Thames

On Sunday 3rd June 2012 the River Thames will provide the backdrop for the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant – the largest flotilla to be assembled on the river in modern times – as the public are invited to take part in one of the major celebrations of Her Majesty ’s sixty year reign.

The Queen will lead a flotilla of up to one thousand boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the World.  With a Bank Holiday the following day, the event organisers are planning for well over one million people to line the banks of the Thames to witness the pageant and join in the celebrations. Letters have been sent to the High Commissioners of every Commonwealth country – and to the Lord Lieutenants of every county in the UK inviting each to send a vessel for the flotilla.

The flotilla – expected to measure 7.5 miles long from end to end – will be one of the major focal points of celebration during the special Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend, and will comprise a diverse mix of the historic and the modern: from rowed boats to sailing ships, steamers to wooden launches and larger motorised craft. The flotilla specifically aims to capture the diversity of Britain and the Commonwealth’s proud maritime history.

The Diamond Jubilee River Pageant will be a piece of theatre on the water and will integrate music, fireworks and special effects.   Barges will feature water jets and sprays reminiscent of the old Thames fire-fighting boats, live entertainment and music from the six decades of The Queen’s reign, and a pyrotechnic barge will provide further entertainment for the watching public, with daytime fireworks and a mechanical flame spitting dragon.

The water-borne parade will include representatives from the armed forces, fire, police and rescue, as well as passenger boats carrying up to 30,000 people as part of the flotilla itself. The pageant site is expected to stretch from Putney Bridge in the West, to Tower Bridge and onwards to Canary Wharf in the East. 

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: “I cannot conceive of a more fitting celebration of Her Majesty’s 60 years on the throne than a majestic flotilla of vessels, large and small, winding their way along the iconic River Thames and showcasing our proud maritime history. This magnificent pageant will not only provide a terrific focal point for Diamond Jubilee commemorations, but will demonstrate to the world London’s pride in its heritage and traditions.”

The pageant will be made up of both private and commercial vessels which must be nationally or internationally registered. All vessels must be capable of travelling at four knots through the water for two hours. Individuals and associations wishing to take part can register their interest and details through the www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org website from today.