Don't miss the flotilla of boats snaking its way up the Thames to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. This promises to be one of the biggest and most spectacular events to mark the Queen's 60th year on the throne, encompassing the 14-mile stretch between Battersea and Greenwich. It will include a thousand boats of all description, headed by the Queen herself in the Royal Barge.
This could be great, or it could be rubbish. It says its going from hammersmith to Greenwich, but that will take it under loads of low bridges, so presumably there wont be any big tall boats in the parade, unless they all start before Tower Bridge, which is the first bridge they can get under. It could just be all rowing boats and canoes, with a few log rafts floating slowly behind
Some extra timings have now been released, for people planning to go.
With the flotilla being so long, the timings are only approximate, but the Queen is expected to board the boat at Cheslea Pier around 2.10 PM. It is then expected to be at Battersea Bridge at 2.40 PM, Westminster Bridge at 3.25 PM, and London Bridge at 3.50 PM. The Queen will review the pageant at Tower Bridge, and the event will end at 5.30 PM.
The largest vessels (and the ones with the most spectacular sails), which are unable to pass under the bridges, will be moored near Tower Bridge.
The end sections of Lambeth Bridge, Westmister Bridge and Blackfriars Bridge will be open for viewing only, and will have large viewing screens. Battersea Bridge and Chelsea Bridge will be open to pedestrians, but will be closed when the pageant passes. Southwark Bridge will be open to traffic only. Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge will be open to both traffic and pedestrians. Albert Bridge, Hungerford Bridge, the Millenium Bridge and Tower Bridge will all be closed.
Large TV screens will be erected all across London, with most of them on the north riverbank between Battersea and London Bridge. There will also be one in Hyde Park and St. James's Park.
The order of the pageant will be as follows:
Man-powered boats the Royal Squadron Dunkirk little ships Historic boats Steam boats Recreational motor boats Narrow boats Passenger boats and barges
If you want to see the royals, then keep an eye out for the following boats:
The Queen will be easy to spot because she will be aboard the Spirit of Chartwell -- the Royal Barge. It will be a long barge decorated in red and gold. You really won't be able to miss it.
Prince Andrew, his daughters, Prince Edward, Sophie and Boris Johnson will be aboard the Havengore. From the pictures it looks like it has a dark bottom with white port holes, and a brown wooden top-half.
Princess Anne and the Princess Royal will be aboard an RNLI lifeboat, called Trinity House No.1, which has an orange top-half, and a dark blue/black bottom.
Its a pity that the thousands (a million?) of spectators will not really see anything because the bridges will mostly be closed, likely cleared of spectators as the Queen goes under, and the river banks both south and north are not elevated enough for good viewing. Why are there no grandstand arrangements? As usual the good folk of London and its tourists have been left out of this once in a lifetime event. Much like the tickets for the Olympics - all have gone to the rich who can afford them or those with connections in high places. To provide large t.v. screens - mainly on the north bank - is not really acceptable. What's the point in watching t.v. screens standing in a heaving mass of others? One might as well stop at home and watch the event on t.v. - if the Beeb bothers to transmit it. As a long time resident, pensioner and council taxpayer living in West London and helping to foot the bill I feel excluded from the Jubilee weekend, just as I feel exluded from the Olympics.
[Taken from my blog.] It wasn't due to start until half-2 (and half-3 where I was going to stand), so I thought I'd get there nice and early -- 11 o'clock in the morning. That would give me nearly four hours to get a decent spot. But as soon as I came out of Waterloo I knew I'd made a mistake, because even the platforms were packed. There was a huge crowd of people hundreds strong, just walking out of Waterloo. When I finally got down to the London Eye I saw that the crowds were already 4 or 5 deep along the entire length of the river. My orginal idea was to head to Tower Bridge for the best spot, but I figured that was a total waste of time when the lousy spots were already packed like sardines. So then I headed for my second spot -- the bank beyond Westminster Bridge, directly opposite Parliament, only to find that they'd reserved that whole area for disabled people. I could probably pass for a mental patient, I thought, but there were loads of gun cops all over the place and I didn't want to risk it. So then I trapsed my way round to Lambeth Bridge with about a billion other people, hoping that it might be a bit quieter. It wasn't. That was packed to, but by this time I figured I'd better just squeeze my way in somewhere and hope for the best.
Luckily I managed to squeeze into a skinny spot right against the railings, because I'm only little, but I was lucky. I was standing next to a family who'd camped out with their blankets and deckchairs, and freezer boxes full of sandwiches and sausage rolls, like it was an overnight picnic. They'd been there since early morning. Most of the other people had been there ages too. It was a pretty good spot as well -- despite all the hassle at the start, I had managed to fluke a good spot -- I was directly in the centre of Lambeth Bridge, looking back toward Parliament, so the flotilla would pass under the bridge behind me, and then fan out in front of me, towards Westminster Bridge.
We had a big TV screen erected on our left so everyone could watch the Queen boarding the barge at Chelsea. This was at ten-past two. Great, I thought, here she comes at last. Come on girl, get a move on, my legs are dead. An hour-and-a-half later we finally saw the first rowing boat under the bridge. I can't remember the exact order of the boats right now, because there was bazillions of them (literally), but I'm pretty sure it was the rowing boats first. There must have been a couple of hundred at least. And not just boring rowing boats either -- there were gondalas a la Venice, galleons like Roman times, Chinese dragon boats, and a Royal barge with Sir Steve Redgrave on it. I'm sure he could have rowed the darn thing himself if he wanted, single-handed but he had about twenty other people pulling too.
After that (or maybe before it... lousy memory) was a boat of bells. This one had about ten two-tonne bells on it, and a load of people pulling on ropes to ring them, peeling and replying to the chimes of Westminster Abbey. Then came the birthday girl herself, standing on top of a huge red and gold barge. Prince Philip, Charles, Camilla, William and Kate and Harry were all on it too, standing up and waving like they do. It was a bit difficult to make out who was who, but luckily the Queen decided to wear a gigantic white hat which was almost as big as the boat, and Kate wore a blood-red dress the same colour as a tomato. Prince Charles and Philip were quite easy to spot because they sported more medals on their chest than the Dukes of Wellington and Marlbrough combined.
I am completely hazy on the order after that, but we saw some big Mississippi steamers, steam powered boats with chimneys chugging, and a fire boat letting off smoke and sizzles all the way down the river (although to be honest, it was more smoke than sizzles). Finally, bringing up the tail end were the leisure vessels full of rich people, taking their yachts out for a spin. It was about this time that the heavens opened and drenched us all, so we were wetter than the boats. I took that as my cue to leave, and headed for the train station along with about six billion other people. I saw later on the news that 1.2 million people turned up to cheer on the Queen, and I can well believe that -- I reckon half of them were on Lambeth Bridge.
I thought this was the most amazing day of the whole Jubilee. What a spectacle! It was just such a shame that the rain came and it was so cold. The only downer on the day was the silly man next to me on the bank who tried to constantly elbow his way into getting more room for his family, not giving a thought for everyone else who had been standing patiently for hours. Eventually I snapped and told him to just be content with what he had! But even he couldnt spoil the day for me.
It was such a great day. I was in a kayak and you can see me on this video. I will contact you directly to see if I can get a copy.
The noise on the river was amazing; crowd cheers, dragon boat drums, moored boat horns, Cox's shouts, bells, whistles ... all in one long glorious wall of positive noise. Especially as we went under bridges the sound levels rose considerably. It was great to get such support, which was even there at 9am in the morning as we paddled up river to the start.