A guide to today's Thames Diamond Jubilee pageant

The Queen visits "The Gloriana" which will be leading the Thames river pageant.
The Queen visits "The Gloriana" which will be leading the Thames river pageant. Photo: Jamie Wiseman/PA Wire

The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant will take place on Sunday between 2pm and 6pm as part of the main celebrations to mark the Queen's 60 year reign.

It will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river with around 1,000 ships, boats, yachts and other vessels taking part in the pageant charting Britain's maritime history.

At around 14:30pm, The Queen will join the flotilla on her royal barge "The Spirit of Chartwell" alongside the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry.

Up to one million people are expected to line the Thames to watch the boats sail by during the royal procession.

An artist's impression of the royal barge passing by Tower Bridge.
An artist's impression of the Royal Barge passing by Tower Bridge. Credit: Joseph Bennett

The Route

The full route, including mustering and dispersal areas, stretches from Hammersmith to the Old Greenwich Royal Naval College and is approximately 14 miles (22km) long.

The official pageant route is about seven miles (11km).

The route along the river Thames for the Diamond Jubilee pageant today.
The route along the river Thames for the Diamond Jubilee pageant today. Credit: Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

The Main Event

River pageant timings (approximate)

  • 14:00 First vessels head towards Battersea Bridge and will pass at 14:25pm
  • 14:30 The Queen boards the Royal barge "The Spirit of Chartwell"
  • 15:00 Royal Barge joins flotilla at Chelsea Pier. Church bells will ring out

The Queen will pass under all 13 of central London's river crossings from Battersea Bridge to Tower Bridge, and when the royal barge travels past this last landmark at around 4.15pm it will stop to allow her to watch the flotilla sail past, which will take about an hour.

  • 16:15 Queen watches the flotilla pass by
  • 17:30 The last vessel, Symphony, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra onboard passes Tower Bridge
  • 18:00 Pageant ends and boats disperse

The event will close when the final music barge, carrying members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir creates a Last Night of the Proms-style atmosphere, playing Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia and finally the national anthem.

The chief executive of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Michael Lockett, gives a round-up of the day's main events.

Best places to watch the pageant

There will be various opportunities to view the procession from prime locations along the river banks.

Spectators along the route will be able to get a view of live coverage of the pageant on 50 giant screens that will be placed in areas close by. They include: Chelsea Embankment, Grosvenor Road, Millbank, Lambeth Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Victoria Embankment and Blackfriars Bridge.

Time Out magazine has also put together a top ten of best places to watch the river pageant.

A festival will also be held at Battersea Park where visitors will be able to watch the flotilla as it passes the park’s northern Thameside. It will be a full day of entertainment and celebration, beginning at mid-day, in anticipation of the flotilla, and continuing until 7pm.

You can view the positions of all the viewing screens, as well as disabled access points, transport links on a full-size version of the map below here. There is also an interactive map.

Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant Map
Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant Map Credit: Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

Security

More than 13,000 police and security officials will line the Thames.

Road and bridge closures

Road closures will commence from 7am and be removed by 10pm. There will be severe restrictions to road access in central London throughout the Pageant. Spectators are advised to use public transport.

In addition, there are only three bridges (Lambeth, Westminster and Blackfriars) where members of the public will be able to stop and watch the flotilla.

Click on the highlighted links to find more event information and an interactive map detailing the bridge and road closures.

Getting around

Key boats:

Gloriana

The boat that will lead the Queen's Jubilee pageant on the River Thames is a 94ft wooden rowbarge.

Gloriana will be rowed by eighteen oarsmen, including Britain's greatest Olympian Sir Steven Redgrave.

Spirit of Chartwell

The Queen and other members of the Royal family will travel aboard a river cruiser that has been re-decorated and re-furnished for the occasion.

It will have a lavish red velvet banner decorated with a version of the royal coat-of-arms made from more than half a million gold-coloured buttons, as well as a throne for the Queen and the Duke.

A version of the royal coat-of-arms made from more than half a million gold-coloured buttons will hang on 'The Spirit of Chartwell'
A version of the royal coat-of-arms made from more than half a million gold-coloured buttons will hang on 'The Spirit of Chartwell' Credit: Colin Baldwin/PA Wire

Other boats

A variety of crafts will take part in the pageant from fishing, rowing and paddled boats to motorised vessels, warships, tall ships and fire boats.

There will also be a number of historic vessels including the Amazon, which also took part in Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, in 1897.

Each participating boat will be provided with a specially designed Diamond Jubilee ensign as a lasting souvenir.

The Worcester Busters who are a group of dragon boat paddlers made up of breast cancer survivors
The Worcester Busters who are a group of dragon boat paddlers made up of breast cancer survivors will take part in the pageant Credit: Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

Avenue of Sail

Vessels with sails too high to pass under London Bridge will line the river from London Bridge to Wapping creating an ‘Avenue of Sail’.

This will be the biggest gathering of large crafts assembled in London since its days as the Empire's biggest port. They will be drawn from around the UK and as far afield as China.

The 'Tenacious' vessel which will feature in the Avenue of Sail
The 'Tenacious' vessel which will feature in the Avenue of Sail Credit: Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant

Key facts

  • It will be the biggest collection of historic vessels ever assembled on the Thames
  • The bascules of Tower Bridge will be raised in salute.
  • The Gloriana will be the largest rowed vessel in the UK today
  • The oldest boat taking part in the flotilla was built in 1740
  • The largest boat taking part is 65m long and 42m high
  • The lead vessel will be a floating belfry with a new set of eight church bells
  • The Belfry bells will be answered and echoed by ringing from the river bankside churches along the route

Source: http://www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org