The Royal Rowboat Gloriana was launched today in preparation for the Queen’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. Over one thousand boats will assemble on the River Thames on Sunday the 3rd June 2012, and Gloriana will be at the head.
The newly built Royal Rowboat Gloriana is a cross between a giant gondola and a Viking longboat, commissioned as a gift to the Queen for her Diamond Jubilee from the P & O president Lord Sterling of Plaistow, and was originally built to carry the Queen and Prince Philip at the head of the Royal procession. Due to the security and health and safety fears the Royal entourage will now be on board the Royal Barge The Spirit of Chartwell, a luxury cruiser that has been commissioned for the occasion.
However, the Gloriana will still have the honour of leading the flotilla, one of the largest ever assembled on the river. Boats of all shapes and sizes, pleasure and working vessels will gather on the river beautifully decorated with Union Flags and streamers, their passengers and crew dressed up for the occassion. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services will also be afloat and there will be a grand display of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats.
Passenger boats will be carrying up to 30,000 flag-waving members of the public placed mid-river in this floating celebration of Her Majesty’s 60 year reign. The opening ceremony of London’s Olympic Games will be just six weeks away and the public that crowd the riverbanks and bridges will give a rousing reception to the many boats that have travelled from far and wide to represent UK port cities, the Commonwealth countries and other international interests. Downriver of London Bridge, there will be a gun salute and the flotilla will pass through a spectacular avenue of sails made by traditional Thames sailing boats, oyster smacks, square riggers, naval vessels and other impressive ships.
By the way, if you intend heading to London to see the Gloriana leading the Royal Flotilla accommodation is still available – click here for more information.