So who attended the River Pageant for the Queens Diamond Jubilee? I know I did, my clothes are still wet through but what a spectacle it was, wouldn’t have missed it for the world!
Over 1000 boats took to the River Thames varying in all different shapes and sizes in celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 60th year on the Throne. Everyone made such a big effort for the day, vessels ranging from kayaks, narrow boats and working barges were all dressed in their finest rigs, their effort didn’t go unnoticed with thousands of photos spread across the media the next day and the Queen waving to every last vessel!
The seven-mile flotilla was led between Battersea and Tower Bridge, by the Belfy Barge, towed by The Steven B. You could hear the bells coming a mile off which allowed the anticipation to grow in the crowds from wherever you were watching. We were stationed on Butler’s Wharf Pier; the sight of all of the boats coming through the bridge was one that we’ll never forget.
Highlights of the pageant include the small sailboats with each of the flags of the Commonwealth flying high. There were a group of vessels that had different bands and orchestras on board. The main vessel played Royal Britannia and The National Anthem at 1800, a quintessentially British moment as the rain was at it’s fiercest at this point!
The Royal Squadron was stunning in itself; there was a glimpse of The Middletons on board the paddle steamer, The Elizabethan. The Gloriana, which led the squadron, was classic and understated, rowed by the Queens Waterman, as is tradition.
The Royal Barge itself, the Spirit of Chartwell was the stand out boat in the 1000. Decorated with over 10,000 blooms, and carried The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Her Majesty could not have chosen a more appropriate chariot for the occasion. It was amazing to see both Prince Phillip and The Queen brave the weather for the duration of the pageant and show their appreciation to their doting public.
A day to remember for all those associated to The River Thames and here is to her Platinum Jubilee!!