As the country marks the day 60 years ago the Queen found out she would be ascending to the thrown, it has be unveiled that more than a million people are expected to line the River Thames for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee river pageant.
The celebrations will fall on the Bank Holiday weekend from June 2 to 5 will be focal point of the 2012 Jubilee celebrations. The Queen’s 60-year reign will be marked with a river pageant featuring 1,000-strong flotilla on the River Thames.
It has been predicted that at least a million people will line to river to watch the Queen’s royal barge go by.
The celebrations will not be confined to the UK, members of the Royal Family will be travelling to countries including Canada, Belize and Jamaica where the monarch is head of state, and the wider Commonwealth.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh will also be travelling around every region of the UK between March and July to visit as many people as possible.
Pageant master Adrian Evans has set an outline of the event which will see the extended Diamond Jubilee bank holiday weekend at its centre the summer.
He said: ‘We’re planning for well over a million people to congregate on the Thames bridges, on balconies and riverside properties and the river’s edge to watch the pageant and salute the Queen, resplendent on the Thames in her glittering royal barge.
‘We’ll be placing just under 50 big screens along the pageant’s route to help people get the most of the day.
‘BBC, ITV and Sky will be broadcasting the event live and distributing their feed worldwide, taking the pageant’s audience into the hundreds of millions.
‘We hope the buildings along the pageant route will dress out in appropriate jubilee style, with bunting, Union flags and red, white and blue.
‘The pageant is a once-in-a-lifetime event, one that will reclaim the Thames as a royal route.’
The pageant will take place on Sunday June 3 and travel under 14 road and rail bridges and will feature 20,000 people on the water.
The flotilla will be divided into 10 sections, with the music barges separating each section.
Mr Evans, the event’s pageant master, said 115 boats, which carry tourists up and down the Thames, would be included in the festivities.
He added that he was aware that boat operators would be losing a day’s trade but did not want to see the public charged excessive prices and thought that prices asked for New Year’s Eve river trips were a suitable equivalent.
Mr Evans said: ‘We don’t want them to profiteer – we think it’s inappropriate.’
Marking her 60 years on February 6, the Queen released a statement saying:
‘I am writing to thank you for the wonderful support and encouragement that you have given to me and Prince Phillip over these years,’ she wrote in a message to the nation.
‘In this special year, as I dedicate myself anew to your service, I hope that we will all be reminded of the power of togetherness and the convening strength of family, friendship and good neighborliness, examples of which I have been fortunate to see throughout my reign.’