London river extravaganza planned for Queen's jubilee

6th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her diamond jubilee with a boat trip on London's River Thames in a newly crafted barge, leading a flotilla of 1,000 ships, the event's organisers said Tuesday.

The aquatic pageant, the biggest on the river for 350 years, will take place on June 3 next year, a public holiday created to celebrate the Queen's 60 years on the British throne.

The monarch would travel from Putney, in the British capital's west, to the central Tower Bridge in a barge refurbished to look like an 18th century galley, the event's organisers, Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation, revealed.

Robert Salisbury, the group's chairman, said the Queen was "enthusiastic" about the multi-million pound event and the lord added it was "very important for younger members of the royal family to play a prominent part."

Prince William and Kate Middleton, who wed on April 29, are expected to join in along with Prince Harry.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, spoke of his excitement during the event's launch at his City Hall office.

"It's going to be amazing," Johnson said. "It's going to be the biggest thing done on the river since the days of Charles II, and from the response we're getting it might be even bigger.

"We will have something that everyone will enjoy and (it) celebrates the thing that made London the most important wonder of the world," added the mayor.

"If it hadn't been for the River Thames, London would not have achieved its importance."

The celebration is expected to attract tourists attending the London 2012 Olympics, which begin on July 27.

© 2011 AFP

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