December 12 2013 Latest news:
Friday, May 18, 2012
Full details of the Thames river pageant for the Diamond Jubilee have been released, including William and Kate joining the Queen on her royal barge.
Up to a million spectators are expected to line the river banks and open spaces for the event on June 3.
The spectacular extravaganza will feature a flotilla of 1,000 ships, boats, yachts and other vessels stretching more than seven-mile long.
With the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on the lavishly decorated royal barge will also be the Prince of Wales, the pageant’s patron, the Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
On the prow of the royal barge, a luxury cruiser called the Spirit of Chartwell, will be an ornate gilded sculpture featuring Old Father Thames, a pair of scaly sharp-toothed classical dolphins - a symbol of the Thames - and the royal cipher at the centre.
Other members of the royal family will travel on neighbouring vessels towards the front of the flotilla.
The Queen and Philip, and Charles and Camilla, will begin their day at Chelsea Pier.
A tender will take them to nearby Cadogan Pier, where the royal barge will be moored with William, Kate and Harry waiting onboard.
Vessels will gather together between Hammersmith and Putney Bridges with the pageant setting off around 2.40pm as eight bells on a floating belfry, at the head of the flotilla, begin ringing.
A man-powered section will comprise 265 rowed vessels including the million-pound row barge Gloriana.
Music will be an integral part of the celebrations and pieces commissioned for the event will receive their world premiere on special barges.
Classical music, Bollywood anthems, Scottish tunes, English folk songs and military marches are some of the performances that will be staged on the river.
Music from the Beatles will be part of the backdrop to the events, performed by musicians and singers on a barge led by celebrated jazz trumpeter and composer Guy Barker.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra will play pieces relevant to buildings it passes so musicians will strike up the theme music to the James Bond films as they near the MI6 building close to Vauxhall Bridge.
And when they approach the RAF Memorial on Victoria Embankment the march from the 1955 film The Dambusters will be performed.
Spectators along the route will be able to get a good view of the Queen on 50 giant screens that will be placed in areas close to the river bank.
She will pass under all 13 of central London’s river crossings from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge, and when the royal barge travels past this last landmark at around 4.15pm it will stop to allow her to watch the flotilla sail past, which will take about an hour.
The event will close when the final music barge, carrying members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir creates a Last Night of the Proms-style atmosphere, playing Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia and finally the national anthem.
The event is being privately funded, with organisers estimating costs at £10.5 million.
Pageant master Adrian Evans said: “Excitement is rising as 20,000 individual participants prepare to take to the river on 1,000 vessels.
“It’s a massive production with some demanding challenges, but it’s going to be an utterly spectacular jubilee celebration.
“I am especially pleased to be able to confirm the wealth of musicians, singers, choristers, composers and conductors who will be taking to the Thames aboard the ten music barges to entertain the viewing and listening public.”
Security will be tight, with bridges being searched and underwater searches being carried out.
Many of the bridges on the day will be closed to the public or only in use for crossing, not viewing the flotilla, and organisers advise spectators not to drive but use public transport.