Queen′s jubilee hits highlight with Thames flotilla | News | DW | 03.06.2012
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Queen's jubilee hits highlight with Thames flotilla

Britain has been celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II with a spectacular pageant on the River Thames. A thousand boats set sail for the event, including one vessel carrying the monarch herself.

Boats of all shapes and sizes take part in a pageant in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, along the River Thames in London June 3, 2012. Britain's Queen Elizabeth joins an armada of 1,000 boats in a gilded royal barge on Sunday in a spectacular highlight of four days of nationwide celebrations to mark her 60th year on the throne. REUTERS/Andrew Winning (BRITAIN - Tags: ANNIVERSARY ENTERTAINMENT SOCIETY ROYALS)

Schiffsparade auf der Themse für die Queen

The flotilla of 1,000 ships made its way along London's River Thames towards the center of the city as a highlight of the 60th jubilee celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II.

The queen and members of the royal family sailed as part of the flotilla aboard a royal barge decked in flowers.

Royals including Prince Charles, Prince William and his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, met members of the public before boarding a launch with the monarch.

Vessels taking part included steam and rowing boats, tugs, barges and traditional sailing vessels. It also featured the Dunkirk "little ships" that rescued British troops from mainland Europe during the Second World War.

Boats of all shapes and sizes muster on the River Thames

Boats of all shapes and sizes sailed downriver on the Thames

Cultures from across the world were represented, with boats including Venetian gondolas, a Chinese dragon boat and a Maori war canoe. One section of vessels flew flags from across the Commonwealth.

Biggest pageant in centuries

At the tail end of the aquatic convoy was a boat carrying the London Philharmonic Orchestra, which provided musical entertainment.

The event ranks as the largest of its type in 350 years, since a similar river pageant held for King Charles II and his consort Catherine of Braganza in 1662.

Despite cool, damp weather, hundreds of thousands lined the riverbanks waving flags and wearing hats adorned with the Union flag.

Not everyone was celebrating, however, with the anti-monarchist group Republic holding a riverbank protest against the celebrations.

Queen Elizabeth began her reign in 1952 when her father, King George VI, passed away. Her coronation took place one year later in June, 1953.

The pageant set a new world record for the largest parade of boats - beating the previous record of 327 boats in Bremerhaven, Germany, last year, according to Guinness World Records.

rc/tj (AFP, dpa, Reuters)