It absolutely was the reign that launched a thousand ships, an enormous flotilla that sailed down the River Thames on Sunday to celebrate the Queen’s sixty years on the throne.
It’s been 350 years since such a pageant was seen.
Canal boats, yachts, gondolas and tall-masted ships were among the many vessels that plied the river beneath gray skies, led by the barge carrying the lady who has served as British monarch longer than anyone except her great-great-grandmother, Victoria.
The pageant, the highlight of a four-day national vacation to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, was reported by the police to possess drawn 1,000,000 spectators to the riverbanks along an 11-kilometre course through London. With millions additional at home and abroad watching on tv, commentators known as it the best public spectacle of the Queen’s reign.
The 86-year-old Queen, among her 90-year-old husband, Prince Philip, and a gathering of her family, spent many hours moving slowly down the river aboard a lavishly tailored royal barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, named for the house of Sir Winston Churchill. Historians said that solely Churchill’s funeral procession along the Thames in 1965 came near matching the crowds along the river.
The last comparable royal pageant was held for King Charles II in 1662, when diarist Samuel Pepys recorded boats therefore various he may “see no water.”
On Monday, the Queen can be part of thousands of revellers at an out of doors concert beside Buckingham Palace, headlined by pop royalty as well as Paul McCartney and Elton John.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper are going to be there, having arrived in Britain late Sunday. he’s additionally expected to attend the service at St. Paul’s Cathedral that wraps up the Diamond Jubilee events on Tuesday and have an audience with the Queen on Wednesday. Harper is to satisfy British Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday.
With any luck, the weather can improve. Sunday was dismal and damp, with rain scuttling plans for a ceremonial flypast, however that didn’t stop Union Jack-waving spectators forming a red, white and blue wave along the pageant route.
“It would are wonderful if it had been sunny like last Sunday, however we’ve got come back ready,” said 57-year-old Christine Steele. “We have gotten blankets, brollies (umbrellas), flags and bunting. we tend to even got our glittery Union Jack hats … and therefore the Champagne is on ice.”
The Queen wore a silver and white dress and matching coat — embroidered with gold, silver and ivory spots and embellished with Swarovski crystals to evoke the river — for her trip aboard the barge.
Grandson Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge — he in his Royal Air Force uniform, she during a red Alexander McQueen dress — and William’s brother, Prince Harry, were among senior royals who joined the Queen and therefore the Duke of Edinburgh.
After a celebratory peal of bells from a special belfry barge, the royal boat sailed downstream at a stately four knots (7.4 km/h), among tugs, pleasure craft, slender boats, kayaks, gondolas, dragon boats and even a duplicate Viking longboat.
In the midst of all the pomp and pageantry was Hamilton’s Ralph Spence, retired bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Niagara. Spence is an knowledgeable in flags and heraldry and was aboard a barge along side alternative heralds from Britain and Canada.
The vessels sailed past a number of London’s nice landmarks — as well as the homes of Parliament, the London Eye and St. Paul’s Cathedral — before ending their journey close to Tower Bridge.
The pageant ended with a rather soggy burst of fireworks over Tower Bridge — and news from Guinness World Records that it had broken the record for largest parade of boats.
The four-day Diamond Jubilee celebrations additionally included thousands of street parties across the country on Sunday. Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, joined many folks for a moist al fresco lunch on Piccadilly, one in all London’s main searching streets.
Jubilee celebrations started Saturday with a royal day at the races, because the Queen — a racing fan and horse breeder — watched a horse with the courtly name of Camelot win the Epsom Derby.