Diamond Jubilee: final preparations underway for weekend spectacular

Jubilee jubilation: Preparations are taking place across London for this weekend's Diamond Jubilee celebrations
Jubilee jubilation: Preparations are taking place across London for this weekend's Diamond Jubilee celebrations©Stephen Simpson/Rex Features

Flags and bunting cover every square inch of London, as final preparations for the Diamond Jubilee central weekend celebrations take place.

Today the final touches are being put in place for the weekend extravaganza, which kicks off tomorrow June 2, and runs until Tuesday, June 5.

At dawn this morning in central London the cavalry, troops and Royal staff were involved in a rehearsal for the eagerly anticipated State Procession, which will take place on Tuesday.

Members of the armed forces took to the deserted streets to run through the details of the procession from 3.30am to 6am, with roads shut off during this time to allow the practice to take place.

Members of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment rode from the Palace of Westminster along Whitehall to Trafalgar Square, then through Admiralty Arch and along the Mall to Buckingham Palace.

The Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Royal Air Force Colour Squadron and the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery were also involved, with some 2,000 servicemen and women taking part in the rehearsal.

The 1902 state landau carriage – which Kate Middleton and Prince William travelled in after being married at Westminster Abbey last April, and will carry the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh this Tuesday – was used in the rehearsal today, but remained empty.
Other carriages which will carry other members of the Royal Family on the day also took part in the run-through. Overall the rehearsal is said to have gone “like clockwork”.

In addition to this, boats have also been arriving for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant which will take place on Sunday afternoon, and will see more than 1,000 vessels travel down the river.

The Royal barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, will carry the main Jubilee Royal Party – the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry.

Details are also being finalised for the Diamond Jubilee Concert around the Queen Victoria Memorial, with thousands of lucky music fans winning the chance to attend the event and millions expected to tune in on TV.

Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue and Stevie Wonder are just some of the big names performing.

As well as the main celebrations in London, up to two million street parties are estimated to be taking place this weekend, as people around the country mark Queen Elizabeth's 60th year on the throne.

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