UK & World News
Jubilee Celebrations Begin With A Bang
The weekend's Jubilee celebrations began in Portsmouth, where crowds lined the coast to watch the aptly named HMS Diamond fire a 21-gun salute in honour of the Queen.
The Type 45 destroyer, one of the Navy's newest warships, made a ceremonial entrance into the harbour, accompanied by four Navy helicopters, two Merlin and two Lynx, hovering above in diamond formation.
An RAF typhoon completed the flypast as a gun at the harbour entrance, at Fort Blockhouse in Gosport, Hampshire, answered the ship's salute with 21 booming return shots.
On board, HMS Diamond's crew lined the flight deck to give a rousing three cheers for the Queen, before settling down for a 'street party' on its decks.
The ship's Petty Officer Dick Davies described the occasion as "a proud day for all involved".
Watching from the shore, 76-year-old local Bill Harris, said it brought back memories of watching the Queen return from South Africa alongside her father, King George VI, in 1948.
He said: "I can still remember watching the masts of HMS Vanguard appearing over the horizon. I was about 12 so the Queen wasn't much older than me. We don't have a fleet like that now but it was moving all the same today. She's done us proud hasn't she, much better than most of her critics."
Captain Mark Durkin, of the Royal Navy, told Sky News: "Portsmouth is a very traditional seaway. Many vessels have come in and out of this famous naval port.
"It is fitting perhaps that one of the Navy's newest ships, our own Diamond, is conducting this ceremony for the Queen - a historic ceremony which goes back to the 17th century.
"The 21-gun salute is a royal salute. It goes back to the days of when a foreign warship would approach a foreign nation and discharge its weapons to indicate that it was posing no threat to that country and it was coming in peace, and in return the country would fire a return salute to acknowledge that.
"That then became a formal ceremony and is acknowledgement of the royal family, and is acknowledging the Queen's tremendous achievement."
Meanwhile, preparations are taking place for celebrations in the capital to mark 60 years of the Queen on the throne.
Tom Parmenter, Sky News correspondent, reports from Canary Wharf in east London:
Vessels of all shapes and sizes are gathering on the Thames ahead of the historic Diamond Jubilee river pageant.
Historic boats from all over the world have moored up in West India Dock just yards from the skyscrapers of London's Canary Wharf.
Michelle Goodson is a crew hand on a 1962 German river fireboat that is taking part.
She told Sky News: "There is just such sense of history to it all.
"Each of these boats has got a great story behind them, and everyone is pitching in helping each other out with the last minute preparations."
Horns were sounded every time another group of new vessels arrived at West India Dock, a holding station for those taking part.
David Hunt, an enthusiast from Suffolk, told Sky News: "This is just a once in a lifetime event, I feel so privileged."
He added: "Yes we'll be a little anxious that everything goes to plan on Sunday but what a great chance to be part of something so special."
Emma Birchley, Sky News correspondent, reports from Putney in south-west London:
Along the banks of the Thames in central London there is a buzz as preparations are made ready for Sunday's pageant.
The boats will muster upriver of Putney.
Gondolas all the way from Italy have been arriving.
Tim Williams is a member of two rowing clubs in Venice which have sent boats, one of which is the biggest gondola in the world at 24 metres.
"It's going to be terrific. The Italians burst into song at any opportunity," said Tim, who will be on board one of the boats.
Grenville Houser is the pageant's beach master at Putney.
He will be making sure every one of the manpowered boats is ready by noon on Sunday to head downriver for the start of the pageant.
"There are so many volunteers and so much goodwill for something as special as this that people are making a supreme effort to make sure it all goes smoothly," he said.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I wouldn't be anywhere else at the moment."
Rhiannon Mills, Sky News reporter, reports from central London:
Earlier, thousands of servicemen and women braved the early morning chill in central London in preparation for Tuesday's carriage procession.
They gathered at Wellington Barracks in London at 3.30am for one final rehearsal ahead of the event, which will provide the grand finale to the weekend's events.
As the rest of London was sleeping, the Sovereign's guard and the historic carriages moved through Parliament Square and up Whitehall to Trafalgar Square.
They then proceeded onto The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, following the same route they will take with the Royal family.
More than a thousand personnel from all three services lined the route, on foot and on horse back, creating an extraordinary dawn chorus through the quiet streets of the capital.
With thousands of spectators expected to gather along the route on Tuesday afternoon, this was a chance for the organisers to put the finishing touches to the military display before they are watched by a worldwide audience.
The procession will be the colourful climax to the four-day Diamond Jubilee celebrations, with carriages, cascading gunfire and military bands expected to provide a glittering display.
The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh will travel in the 1902 State Landau carriage used by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after their wedding.
The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will also take part in the procession in different carriages.
Once they arrive at Buckingham Palace the Queen will be joined on the balcony by other members of Royal family to witness an RAF fly past and the Feu de Joie (fire of joy) - a rifle display performed by the Queen's Guard set to the National Anthem.
The only time it has been performed for the Queen previously was for her 80th birthday.
Members of all the armed forces were involved in the dress rehearsal including the Royal Navy and Royal Marines, the Household Cavalry, the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and the Royal Air Force Colour Squadron, along with livery from the Royal Mews.
Read more about the Diamond Jubilee:
:: Prince Charles In Tribute To 'Devoted Mama'
:: In Detail: Diamond Jubilee River Pageant
:: Jubilee Celebrations: Full Schedule Of Events
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what do you think?
It will be fantastic. Nobody does pomp and ceremony like the Brits and she is OUR Queen!
what rubbish should read "no one knows how to blow another couple of billion like the Brits"
i bet given half the chance they would rather be doing something useful like fighting the Taliban , instead of strutting up and down for some old parasite.
Sorry Lee but I think your studies in Sociology and Psychology went somewhat astray.
Lee, if the traditions of this country, it's Monarchy and it's armed forces disgust you so much, why not emmigrate, it would save a lot of people having to put up with your socialist republican nonsense. Unless you have served in the forces (although I find it hard to beleive that you have done anything other than claim benefits your whole life) I don't think you have any insight what so ever in what serving members of our forces would rather be doing. I served in Iraq and Afghan and beleive me I would much rather be taking part in a parade in my home country than having bullets and RPG rounds whiz past my head.
You really are an ignorant man.
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Hear hear Mark K. I loved finding the dead pits in Bosnia. Much rather do that than parade for my C in C.
Yes, 60 years on the throne is a great achievement but are we really all that bothered?
Some of us are!
Yes, I am.
Not in the least.
Perhaps we should be, David. Without our history, heritage or sense of national pride we become more like those useless individuals who spend all day complaining and no time actually trying to make the World a better place. For what it's worth, I am bothered.
sort of well said David 60 years of un elected rule is NO achievement.60 years of elected rule would be .
I for one am thankful that we live in a monarchy rather than a republic, especially when you look at our over-ambitious and under-talented politicians! Elizabeth II is a great queen who has seen more radical changes during her reign than any of her predecessors, and yet has continued to represent the best of being British and dutiful.
I have nothing against the queen and her family as people - it's what they represent. The monarchy represents privilege and the class society we live in. Where the rich live off the backs of millions of ordinary working people and austerity doesn't even touch them, while THEIR economic system has failed, WE are expected to pick up the pieces.
Chris, there are PLENTY of people in our 'lower' classes that live off the backs of 'ordinary working people'. Don't believe me? Tune into Jeremy Kyle for a snapshot of where a large pot of our taxes go!
Windows Live User
change the record please. Look at the investment they have brought into this country over the years!! They have earned Britain far more than you or I
dream on windows, what a ridiculous statement
Well said Chris
I swore an oath of allegience to Her Majesty and her heirs and successors on 14 Oct 96 when i joined her Armed Forces. I may have left now but that oath will be in effect for the rest of my life. People ike Mr Bennett will never understand this. Send her victorious.
Ha ha ha Sad case indeed you are
oh come on Keith you must have something more original than that .It makes no difference the monarchy are a very outdated concept and what you cannot handle is that there are plenty of folks who would rather we did not have them .So if they are so popular why are us republicans not given a chance to vote on them ? probably cos they know they stand a very high chance of losing .60 years of un elected rule is nothing to be proud of ,in fact its a disgrace
Windows Live User
Wish I lived in the south. All my town has done is 60th anniversary letters, with a few flowers, have been placed on a roundabout just outside of town. No sign of anything in the town. Obviously they are sticking stricktly to Cameron's austerity plan for the northeast. Just shut it down.. Goodbye Vickers