Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Queen Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant photos - the greatest show on Thames

The day started wet

The rain started over central London the night before and didn't really stop till the end of Queen's Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant. Perhaps I should count me blessings that the rain held when I went out on a recce trip the day before.

Here are some of the highlights for the day. Enjoy!

A sea of Union Jacks (photo by Defence Images)

When the rain came, it poured. Still the crowds held their ground. Up to ten deep in some places according to the newspapers and at least three deep in spots reserved for private guests.

The Royal Barge not short of escorts (photo by ComSec)

Those out in the open were shivering in the face of relentless rain and wind but they went wild when the Royal Barge Spirit of Chartwell, which the Queen was on, came in sight.

The Metropolitan Police keeping order at Tower Bridge

I wasn't near the National Theatre but caught the act Joey (from The Warhorse) did for the Queen on TV. Nine months in the making, that short bit by the Queen's favourite play, The Warhorse, was probably the highlight of the day for her. "Look, the horse is rearing its head!" I couldn't help pointing to Wife.

The organiser rightly decided that Millenium Bridge should be closed to the public. Given its shaky (quite literally) opening in 2000, I wouldn't want to be on it with a thousand others. Then someone decided that they should chance the rain and put painters on the bridge given its proximity to Tate Modern and all. The paint started to run and that was it. The flavour of the day was Impressionist apparently.

Boats flying the Commonwealth nations' flags going under Hungerford Bridge (photo by ComSec)

(Photo by ComSec)

We were at the end point near Tower Bridge. The crowds that we expected walking along with the flotilla never arrived. Instead, those present melted off after the Queen's boat went passed and docked in front of Guomen Hotel. The cold finally got to them as the pubs and restaurants were packed.

The first wave of the manpowered boats arriving at Tower Bridge

Photo by Defence Images

Our favourite part was the Dunkirk boats. The smallish boats, which made their name ferrying remnants of British Expeditionary Force, come in all shapes and sizes. The smallest of them all can hardly fit in three crew. The smallest of them all were also the loudest. Tooting their engines as they go under Tower Bridge with those docked along the banks joining in unison, it provided some festive cheer. LO got a tad excited and started waving her two little Union Jacks at the steam columns.

The Royal Barge going under Tower Bridge with the bridge opened up 90 degrees, a gesture reserved for the Monarch

London Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal College of Music Chamber Choir: The TV coverage wasn't fantastic due technical issues. Give it a few moments and it would be fine.

The cheer didn't end after London Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal College of Music Chamber Choir went passed Tower Bridge and belted out God Save the Queen. There was a tiny mob gathering at St Katherine's Way waiting for the Royal Family to disembark and be ferried off in black minibuses. Perched above garden walls and bicycles chained to the rail, there was a minor frenzy when someone shouted, "I see Kate!"

Tenacious, one of the tall mast boats too tall to go under London Bridge docked along Thames

It was the biggest gathering of boats along Thames since 350 years ago and only the second Diamond Jubilee that the British monarchy has celebrated in its history. It's unlikely we'd be witnessing something of this scale in our lifetime. Despite the rain, it was all good fun. I'm just glad to be there and I think I speak for all those present.

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