Organisers unveil 1,000-boat Diamond Jubilee flotilla


Pageant master Adrian Evans and Philip Morrell whose barge will be used by the Queen, outline the plans

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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

Start Quote

We have a wonderful collection of vessels, a wide spectrum of every type of craft ”

End Quote Adrian Evans Pageant master

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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  • rate this

    Comment number 27.


    I'd love to forget about the monarchy for a while and think of something else for a change but the Buckingham Palace Press Office keeps on reminding us.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    It's unlikely that any other Monarch will celebrate a Diamond Jubilee, ok it's an expense but given the olympics and the attention London will be receiving its a great way to bring some money into the floundering economy - I live near to London and there's no way I plan to travel in to see it, TV coverage will be good I'm sure.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    To all the idiots dissing this ambitious, and surely magnificent, event, the cost of it is irrelevant, how many tens of thousands will turn out to see it? How many extra tourist pounds will the Jubilee celebrations bring into the economy? Bigger picture people come on! Why can't we celebrate our history and showcase to the world what we can do instead of moaning about what we've lost or can't do!

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    What a disgraceful waste of money,this and the olympics, they should both be scapped.

    The tories are cuttring public sector jobs and services because of a supposed lack of money and yet can find the money to host these parties for their fellow toffs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    The moaners and naysayers have missed the point. The governement provides these little escappdes (along with Royal Weddings and the Olympics) to take the proles minds off the unrelenting grind of their everyday existence.

    It's either these little junkets or another war and with only two servicable Sopwith Camels and an armoured tug-boat we really couldn't take on the Girl Guides.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    "Sue Doughcoup : This could be one of those rare occasions when I would like to live closer to the capital. Any chance of realistic rail travel to see it?"

    Well, if the money was spent on transport infrastructure investment, instead of on a boating exhibition.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    I am broke, why do rich people insist on spending my tax money on absolute frivolity like this, No Future !!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    11.paulusmagintie "Forget about the money and enjoy the history" Of course! that's exactly want they want you to do! The tiny problem is that they are WRITING the history in their own way, with their own rules! Why don't we staff and run a new state-of-the-art yacht for them to add to the disgusting round of absolutely unecessary excess? Keep flag-waving, cretins!

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I have high hopes for this one. I may join in!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    London with its marvellous architecture of the old and new will be a great backdrop to the celebrations!!

    I love this City - every nation is here in one way or the other.

    Can't wait!

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    The UK is falling apart. The banks have got away scot free with trashing the economy. Unemployment and child- poverty are on the increase. ENGLAND'S STILL DREAMING.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    The highlight of the 1977 Silver Jubilee was the Sex Pistol's Thames flotilla. I hope they get given pride of place at this one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    I will be competely ignoring this grotesque event. The day the monarchy is assigned to the dustbin of history will be a good day.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    no money left unless its a royal wedding or a royal boat trip or to buy them a new boat or to play games for 2 weeks yep we are all in it together

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Yippee! Boats. Lots and lots of boats. Who needs a properly funded health service and money for schools when we can a river-full of boats?

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Fantastic - let's show the world that Britain still knows how to do pomp and circumstance better than anyone else! I'm really looking forward to it. For all the nay sayers - a brilliant, high profile event like this can only be good for tourism and attracting investment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    @24 hours from tulse hill

    Why can't you just look past the money problems for 1 minute and think about something else for a change? People said the same about the new year fireworks and the up coming olympics.

    Forget about the money and enjoy the history for a change it will cost a few million nothing that could speed up the super carrier, unless you have a few billion hanging around.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    5. Tulse Hill

    Some folk are .......well just some folk are.

    'London's river banks and public spaces are likely to be crowded with millions of spectators,'

    Seems like good value to me then. That's the trouble with knockers. They don't think widely enough.

    This could be one of those rare occasions when I would like to live closer to the capital. Any chance of realistic rail travel to see it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Let's hope that the weather is fine as this could be a brilliant spectacle and I'm really sad that I won't be able to see it as I am out of the country at the time.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    3 June is smack in the middle of public examination season... I still have memories of taking A-level Physics about 50 yards from the processional route for the Silver Jublilee visit of HM The Queen to Cardiff - the noise was deafening, and despite the school writing to the exam board for 'special consideration' we all underperformed that day! At least it's a Sunday, stuff revision :)


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