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1,000 boats in seven-mile pageant

A spectacular flotilla reflecting Britain's maritime heritage has been assembled to celebrate the Queen's 60-year reign, organisers of the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant announced.

The 1,000-boat tribute will feature vessels from down the centuries on the River Thames, a seven-mile long procession of Dunkirk little ships, historic vessels, steam boats and tugs, rowed shallops and Dutch barges and passenger ships.

It was also announced that the Prince of Wales will be the pageant's patron and have a key role when the event is staged during the extended Diamond Jubilee weekend in June.

Music is an integral part of the celebrations and pieces commissioned for the event will receive their world premiere on special musical 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.

Downton Abbey composer John Lunn was commissioned with nine other film composers to create a new movement using the original titles of Handel's Water Music for inspiration.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy has written the words for a new song with music by composer Orlando Gough which will be performed by singers from across the Commonwealth.

Around 3,000 vessels applied to take part in the water-borne celebrations with pageant master Adrian Evans praising the high quality of those who came forward.

A Battersea Park Jubilee Festival curated by Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway and artist Clare Patey will feature a village green, 1952 bandstand tea dance, outdoor cinema and other attractions.

At the centrepiece of the flotilla will be the lavishly decorated royal barge with a red and gold colour scheme. It will carry the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh and other royals who have not been named but are likely to be the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.

The pageant will take place on Sunday June 3, and journey down river from Putney to Tower Bridge. It will travel under 14 bridges, feature 20,000 people on the water and take 90 minutes to pass any given point.


From Belfast Telegraph