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Monday, 23 April 2012

Sneak peek at Gloriana, the Diamond Jubilee royal barge

Here’s the Gloriana, the £1m boat that will lead the Diamond Jubilee Pageant along the Thames on Sunday, June 3. I spotted her moored by Richmond Bridge, where workmen were adding the final touches to the woodwork and gilding. On Wednesday, April 25 she will be taken downriver to Greenwich for a formal naming ceremony by the Queen.
The Gloriana was inspired by the barges seen on the Thames in the 18thc, and painted by Canaletto (left). She’ll be powered by 18 rowers, all in colourful costumes. But the Queen won’t be on the Gloriana. Because of security concerns, she’ll be following on a motor cruiser, the Spirit of Chartwell, which is being dressed in gold, purple and crimson for the occasion, with a gilded carving near the prow, and two thrones on a raised dais. There will also be flowers from the Queen's gardens and across the Commonwealth.
A thousand boats, ranging from kayaks, historic vessels and pleasureboats to steam boats, tugs, and the surviving Dunkirk ‘little ships’ will take part in the pagent. The flotilla will stretch back over seven miles, starting at Wandsworth and ending past Tower Bridge, and taking 90 minutes to pass any given point. A sight to remember.

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