Organisers unveil 1,000-boat Diamond Jubilee flotilla

  • 18 January 2012
  • From the section UK
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Media captionPageant master Adrian Evans and Philip Morrell whose barge will be used by the Queen, outline the plans

A 1,000-boat flotilla reflecting the UK's maritime heritage has been assembled for the Diamond Jubilee, organisers have announced.

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will journey down river from Putney to Tower Bridge on Sunday 3 June.

It will feature a seven-mile long procession of Dunkirk little ships, historic vessels, steam boats and tugs.

At its centre will be a royal barge, decorated in red and gold, carrying the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

It will carry other royals who have not been named yet, but are likely to be the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

Music is a key feature of the celebrations, with pieces commissioned for the pageant receiving their premiere on special musical barges.

Carol Ann Duffy, the poet laureate, has written the words for a new song with music by composer Orlando Gough.

Ten film composers, including Downton Abbey composer John Lunn, were commissioned to devise a new movement inspired by the original titles of Handel's Water Music.

The flotilla will feature 20,000 people on the water, travel under 14 bridges and take 90 minutes to pass any given point.

Hand-built rowbarge

There will be 10 sections made up of a variety of vessels - from steam boats and Dutch barges to modern rowing boats, kayaks and Dragon boats.

It will be led by Gloriana, a hand-built, 88-foot rowbarge covered in gold leaf, followed by boats carrying the flags of the Commonwealth nations in the second section.

The royal section features the pageant's flagship - the royal barge - with a guard of honour behind.

Pageant master Adrian Evans praised the quality of the 3,000 vessels that had applied to take part in the event.

Mr Evans added: "We have a wonderful collection of vessels, a wide spectrum of every type of craft from humble kayaks to magnificent tall ships, with rowed shallops, oyster smacks, steamers, cutters, cruisers and barges."

The £12m cost of the pageant - which includes a £2m VAT bill - will be funded by private sponsorship and donations, according to Lord Salisbury who leads the organisation of the event.

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