Celebrating Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
The Platinum Jubilee weekend is almost here so we revisit some special moments from rowing over the last 70 years
This weekend, HM Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate an unprecedented 70 years of service as the nation celebrates her historic Platinum Jubilee across a festive four-day bank holiday weekend from 2-5 June.
Central to the royal extravaganza will be the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, together with the lighting of more than 2,022 beacons throughout the United Kingdom and UK Overseas Territories in recognition of The Queen’s long and selfless service.
We look at how the rowing community will be commemorating the Platinum Jubilee and share some memories and royal milestones below from the last 70 years.
Gloriana and the Platinum Jubilee Flotilla
Come and enjoy the spectacle of a rowing procession on the Thames as the Platinum Jubilee Flotilla journeys through Windsor on Saturday, 4 June between 11:30am and 12:30pm. The flotilla is led by Gloriana, The Queen’s Row Barge, which was built in 2012 and led the Diamond Jubilee Flotilla in London. British Rowing Chair Mark Davies will join the special guests on board. The procession will include 30 boats with representatives from rowing clubs taking part, along with rowers from The Windsor Boys’ School.
Rowers will also be taking to the water around the country including at Metropolitan Amateur Regatta at Eton Dorney, Trentham Boat Club Regatta and Hexham Jubilee Regatta where event winners will receive special pewter medals.
Peterborough Jubilee Regatta is celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with ‘special one-of-a-kind prizes’ and esteemed guests.
At Hereford, rowers are celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at their regatta as well as 150 years of Hereford Rowing Club.
1946 Before she was Queen, Princess Elizabeth attended Henley Royal Regatta with Princess Margaret, presenting the prizes including the first Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup named after her.
1951 On 17 March, Princess Elizabeth attended the 25th anniversary of the Head of the River Race, giving the signal for the race to start.
1963 Prince Philip presented the inaugural Prince Philip Challenge Cup for coxed fours (now no longer running). The Queen and Prince Philip opened the new Henley Regatta Headquarters.
2002 The Queen unveiled a statue in Marlow to five-times Olympic medal winner Sir Steve Redgrave. An estimated 8,000 people saw her unveil the 80-feet high bronze figure created by Andrew Neale, overlooking the Marlow Reach where Sir Steve learned to row.
2012 Led by the Queen on the Royal Barge, the Diamond Jubilee River Pageant was the biggest river pageant to take place on the Thames since the reign of Charles II. Up to one thousand boats collected on the Thames on Sunday, 3 June 2012, including many members of the rowing community. Stable Explore Rowing boats from Putney Town, Twickenham, Leicester and Weyfarers rowing clubs joined watermen’s cutters, gigs, skiffs, ocean rowing boats, three shallops and the Royal Barge Gloriana – rowed by an 18-strong crew including Sir Steve Redgrave – at the head of the flotilla.
2013 The Coronation Jubilee 60th Anniversary Regatta was held in Home Park, Windsor. Special guests included the Queen who came to watch some of the racing. As chairman of the race committee, Mark Blandford-Baker had the honour of welcoming guests, and recalls how the royal guest pointed out that the colour of Her Majesty’s coat matched his Leander socks!
Back in 1952
Rewind 70 years to when Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne – and rowing history was also created at Thames Rowing Club when the BBC came down to film.
The club’s journal for that year described how “on the 12th May, 1952, the first television programme ever to describe rowing, as opposed to straight reporting, in sound or vision of a regatta or race was transmitted from Thames Rowing Club between 7.45 and 8.30 p.m.”
This was in the run-up to the Helsinki Olympics later that year and covered “as wide a selection of genuine candidates for Olympic honours as possible, clubs as well as individuals, for this was a general rowing programme and we tried to give as fair a showing as possible to other clubs.”
After the programme finished the journal related how “the BBC powers that be at Alexandra Palace rang up and congratulated all concerned, much to our relief, because we hadn’t a clue how it had gone over. It was reassuring too, to read later several complimentary remarks in both morning and evening papers.”
It’s an entertaining read and Thames RC have kindly shared the full report here.
Highlights from our community
1978 In the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Honours, seven people were awarded medals for services to rowing including an MBE for Christopher Baillieu and Michael Hart.
2012 To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, the late British Rowing Chair Dame Di Ellis awarded 60 Diamond Jubilee Medals to recognise the immense contribution made by so many in the sport. A special Awards Luncheon was held with more than 70 volunteers, coaches, club members and officials of British rowing coming together to celebrate.
2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – Almanack Editor Maggie Phillips summed up 2012, writing: “What a year! I don’t think any of us will forget the Olympic and Paralympic Games and all that came and went with them. Rowing came away with nine medals for Team GB – truly outstanding.” The Team GB rowers won five golds with all crews making the A Finals cheered on by the spine-chilling Dorney Roar.
2012 Dover Rowing Club led the ship carrying the 2012 Olympic torch in Dover harbour.
2021 Reading Rowing Club and Bann Rowing Club were honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. It is uncommon for the QAVS to be awarded to sports clubs and extremely unusual for it to be received by a rowing club.
St. Ives RC
Both Lewis Clark and Peter Wilson have been members of St. Ives RC since joining as school boys in 1952. Lewis, club captain from 1961-1966 was instrumental in the inclusion of women as members in the 1960s, as well as ensuring the building of a much needed extension! Lewis and Peter will be celebrating the Jubilee with St Ives RC but can also be regularly spotted down at the club bar on Sunday afternoons!