Despite cool, drizzly weather, hundreds of thousands of peoplelined the riverbanks between Hammersmith and Tower Bridge inLondon, feting the monarch whose longevity has given her the statusof the Commonwealth’s favourite grandmother. The queen and members of her family will lead the river pageantaboard a flower-bedecked royal barge, accompanied by skiffs,barges, narrowboats, motor launches, row boats and sailing vesselsfrom around the world. We in Britain are experts at not letting the weather spoil ourfun, said Adrian Evans, pageant master for Sunday’s flotilla. The London Philharmonic Orchestra will be playing `Singin’ In TheRain’ as they travel down the river, and the crowd can sing alongwith them.
Hundreds of people ignored the persistent rain and camped outovernight to secure prime riverside spots. It would have been wonderful if it had been sunny like lastSunday but we have come prepared, said 57-year-old ChristineSteele. We have got blankets, brollies (umbrellas), flags andbunting. We even got our glittery Union Jack hats and wigs, and theChampagne is on ice. The spectacle is a tribute to Britain’s past monarchs used theriver as their main highway for centuries, and naval power builtthe island nation’s once-great empire as well as its abidinglove of boats and the sea.
Among the flotilla vessels will be several of the Dunkirk LittleShips, private boats that rescued thousands of British soldiersfrom the beaches of France after the German invasion in 1940 adefeat that became a major victory for wartime morale. Prime Minister Stephen Harper left for London Sunday morning,though he will arrive too late to see the flotilla. He’s slated to attend a televised concert at Buckingham Palace onMonday night featuring Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder and EltonJohn, as well as the lighting of the national beacon. The prime minister s office says Mr. Caterpillar Scanner
Harper will also attend aTuesday service at St. Paul s Cathedral with the Queen and theRoyal Family. On Wednesday, the prime minister will join otherCommonwealth leaders at a luncheon and be on hand for the unveilingof a new portrait of the Queen. The four-day Diamond Jubilee celebrations also include thousands ofstreet parties across the Britain though not everyone will becelebrating. RGB Led Remote Control
The anti-monarchist group Republic plans a riverbankprotest as the flotilla goes by on Sunday, followed by a pub nightwhere royal refuseniks can drown their sorrows. People are sick and tired of being told they must celebrate 60years of one very privileged, very remote and very uninspiring headof state, said the group’s chief executive, Graham Smith. Thehereditary system is offensive to all the democratic values thiscountry has fought for in the past. Jubiliee celebrations kicked off Saturday with a royal day at theraces, as the queen watched a horse with the courtly name ofCamelot win the Epsom Derby. Jubilee festivities officially beganwith a 41-gun salute fired by the King’s Troop, Royal HorseArtillery at Horse Guards Parade in central London. China Motorcycle Transponder Key
The 86-year-old monarch and her husband, Prince Philip, visitedEpsom racecourse south of the capital for the Derby, one of theyear’s biggest horse-racing meetings. The Queen is a racing fan and horse breeder who has attended theDerby for decades and reads the Racing Post each day overbreakfast, although unlike many of her subjects she does notgamble. She’s incredibly knowledgeable. Her knowledge of thoroughbredsand breeding goes way back, said Anthony Cane, chairman of EpsomDowns Racecourse. After Tuesday’s religious service, celebrations will end with acarriage procession through the streets of London and the Queen’sappearance with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildrenon the palace balcony.
The Queen took the throne in 1952 on the death of her father, KingGeorge VI. Prime Minister David Cameron the 12th British leader of thequeen’s reign paid tribute to the monarch’s extraordinarylevel of physical energy, mental energy, and above all devotion toher people, to the institutions of this country, to the way ourdemocracy works. In a jubilee gift from Britain’s politicians, lawmakers from thethree main parties have backed a motion calling for the towerhousing Big Ben the beloved London bell that chimes the quarterhour to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in the queen’s honor.It’s currently called the Clock Tower. With a report from The Canadian Press More Related to this Story ‘The very first time I saw a TV’: Readers remember the coronation Gallery From the archives: Canada marks the coronation of Queen ElizabethII.