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Liners in 'river dance' spectacular

Thousands of people lined the shores of the Mersey today to witness Cunard's three flagship liners sail down the river framed by the magnificent Liverpool skyline.

The Three Queens spectacle celebrated the famous shipping line's formation 175 years ago in its original home port.

Many people arrived in the early hours of the morning to secure a prime spot to see the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.

The ships performed choreographed manoeuvres on the river, which included 180-degree turns.

The so-called "river dance" received a finishing touch with a flypast by the Red Arrows and their trademark red, white and blue smoke.

A firework display will end today's spectacle, which is the culmination of a weekend of maritime exhibitions and events in the city.

Cunard was founded in 1840, with Sir Samuel Cunard's mail steamship RMS Britannia beginning its transatlantic service to Halifax and Boston from Liverpool.

The transatlantic shipping trade transported about 11 million emigrants to the New World from Europe between 1860 and 1900, about a third of them sailing from Liverpool.

Later this year the original Cunard transatlantic crossing will be recreated as the Queen Mary 2 sails from Liverpool on the same route the Britannia took, to Halifax, Boston and New York.

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