Jubilee celebrations preparation for the weekend
National celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee will take place over the extended bank holiday weekend from 2nd June to 5th June.
The four-day Diamond Jubilee weekend was officially marked by a 21-gun salute, which was fired by HMS Diamond at Portsmouth Naval Base earlier today.
Queen Elizabeth II, 86, acceded to the throne and became the Head of Commonwealth countries since 1952. Her reign of 60 years is the second longest for a British monarch, followed by Queen Victoria.
As owning and breeding racehorses is one of the Queen’s interests, she will attend tomorrow’s big race at Epsom, southwest of London, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. Katherine Jenkins will sing the National Anthem and the Red Arrow will perform an air display.
On Sunday, the focus switches to the River Thames, where over 1,000 vessels will assemble between Hammersmith and Battersea bridges in preparation for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will board the Royal Barge which forms the centrepiece of the flotilla. Up to a million people are expected to line along the banks of the River Thames to witness the seven-mile pageant, which will begin in Battersea and end at Tower Bridge. Its highlight will be the 94-foot row barge, Gloriana, which is carved in gold leaf.
Street parties and traditional picnics will be held on Sunday, as part of the Big Jubilee Lunch and people across the UK are encouraged to share lunch with neighbours and friends.
The following evening will feature a BBC concert outside Buckingham Palace, featuring singers such as Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney – both have been knighted by the Queen.
The final day of the celebrations will see the Queen and the extended royal family members attending a thanksgiving service at St Paul’s Cathedral. After the Royal Carriage Procession, the royals will appear on the palace balcony, in time for a flypast by Royal Air Force planes and a cascade of rifle fire from the Queen’s Guard.
Prime Minister David Cameron told the parliament’s The House Magazine ahead of the celebrations: “I owe the Queen a huge debt for the wisdom she has shown me over the past couple of years. Six decades of service have given her an acute sense of what matters, what is permanent, and what is in Britain’s best interests.”