News Update :

Queen marks diamond jubilee

Saturday, June 2, 2012

UK: Britain will mark the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II with four days of celebrations beginning on Saturday that include a 1,000-boat river pageant and a star-studded concert.

The queen starts the festivities by indulging in her love of horse racing at the Epsom Derby on Saturday before she rides in a ceremonial barge on the Thames at the centre of the giant flotilla on Sunday.

One million people are expected to line the river to see the extravaganza of steam boats and tugs, speed boats and historic vessels.

A concert in the shadow of Buckingham Palace featuring Paul McCartney and other top names is the highlight on Monday before the four-day extravaganza culminates in the pomp and splendour of a ceremonial parade on Tuesday.

Aside from the setpiece events in London, millions of people up and down the country are commemorating the jubilee by throwing a party at home.

They will be making the most of the two-day public holiday granted for an historic occasion -- the queen is only the second British monarch to celebrate a diamond jubilee, after queen Victoria, in 1897.

Union Jacks are fluttering in streets and shop windows and retailers report that red, white and blue bunting and even jubilee garden gnomes are selling fast.

“It’s a celebration of what she has achieved in 60 years and it’s also a celebration of the institution,” said royal author Robert Jobson.

“In a more informal way, it’s also celebrating your national identity, your national pride.”

The celebrations take place as the royal family enjoys its highest support for decades, with a recent poll showing that 80 percent of Britons want the country to remain a monarchy. AFP
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