Queen leads jubilee Thames flotilla
LONDON - Reuters
Rowing boats gather near Hammersmith Bridge on the River Thames, London. AP photoBritain’s Queen Elizabeth joined an armada of 1,000 boats down London’s River Thames to the pealing of bells yesterday in a spectacular highlight of four days of nationwide celebrations to mark her 60th year on the throne.
Hundreds of thousands of cheering people waving “Union Jack” flags and dressed in red, white and blue braved the wind and rain to pack the 11 kilometers route for one of the largest flotillas ever seen on the river. The queen, wearing a silver and white dress with a matching coat, smiled broadly and waved to large crowds before boarding the gilded royal barge, “The Spirit of Chartwell,” alongside her 90-year-old husband Prince Philip. Other members of the royal family on the barge included heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles, his eldest son Prince William and new wife Kate, a global fashion trendsetter who wore a vivid red Alexander McQueen dress and matching hat.
Up and down the country, millions of people were due to attend diamond jubilee street parties over the long holiday weekend in honor of the 86-year-old, the only British monarch after Queen Victoria to have sat on the throne for 60 years. Organizers say the river pageant is the largest of its kind in 350 years since a similar spectacle was held for King Charles II and his consort Catherine of Braganza in 1662.