The four-day Jubilee Weekend opens a summer of landmark events in Britain that will bring visitors flocking from the UAE and Gulf regions just weeks before the start of the London Olympics and Paralympics.
The Epsom Derby will open the Jubilee Weekend when The Queen visits the world-class event in the international horse racing calendar on 2 June.
The following day celebrations take to the water for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant. This event will take place on the famous River Thames and will make history as the largest flotilla to be assembled on the river in modern times. The Queen will travel in The Spirit of Chartwell, the Royal Barge which will lead the flotilla consisting of up to 1,000 boats.
Operated by the Magna Carta Steamship Company, The Spirit of Chartwell, a luxury Thames river vessel with opulent interiors, will be the most important boat on the Thames in next year’s pageant. She was chosen for a host of reasons, including size, comfort, safety and manoeuvrability.
The design of the Royal Barge will echo the richly-decorated royal barges of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, reflecting the great historical nature of this event. The Royal Barge will be adorned with flowers from The Queen’s own gardens by renowned horticulturist, garden designer and TV presenter Rachel de Thame. Red, gold and purple – the royal colours – will feature most prominently in the floral arrangement, which will reference the Commonwealth, the Coronation and The Queen’s Gold State Coach. After the event, The Spirit of Chartwell will resume her role as a cruising vessel on The Thames.
British and Commonwealth musicians take to the international stage for a televised Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace on 4 June and the star-studded event is followed by The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Beacons. A network of 2,012 Beacons will be lit by communities and individuals throughout the UK, as well as the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Commonwealth. As in 2002, The Queen will light the National Beacon.
Formal proceedings mark the close of the Jubilee Weekend with a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and a formal carriage Procession by The Queen.
There will also be hundreds of small, community-based projects and street parties all over Britain. The Big Jubilee Lunch on 3 June will encourage people to share lunch with neighbours and friends in the form of traditional street parties or picnic lunches in small or larger groups.
Carol Maddison, Manager UAE, VisitBritain, said: “A nationwide celebration to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 brings together thousands of people from across many different communities as well as marking a year for Britain that promises to be a truly historic occasion.”
“The Diamond Jubilee takes place ahead of the Olympics and Paralympics Games in London and opens a summer of events in Britain that centre around highlighting the best art, culture and community-based projects the UK has to offer,” Maddison said.
Art and culture events forming The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations include a new touring exhibition bringing together 60 images of Elizabeth II spanning the 60 years of her reign. The tour began in Edinburgh in June 2011 and will arrive in London in May 2012. The exhibition will feature formal painted portraits, official photographs, media pictures and contemporary artworks, including works by Leibovitz and Warhol.
A number of magnificent buildings steeped in British history will be open to visitors throughout 2012, featuring special events and exhibitions hosted by The Royal Collection to showcase Official Royal Residences, Private Estates and Unoccupied Royal Residences.
Visitors will also gain access to the fabulous gardens at Buckingham Palace and Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, the sumptuous locations for The Queen’s garden parties during The Diamond Jubilee.
Other Royal Heritage attractions open to visitors range from the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Jewel House in the Tower of London, which holds the greatest working collection of Crown Jewels in the world, to the well-preserved ruins of Corfe Castle and Tintagel Castle in South West England.
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com